CISSMUN has begun. 800 students prepare themselves with one aim- to get their resolutions passed.
Before they can get there, they need to ready themselves with writing position papers and resolutions. The British School of Beijing (BSB), Shunyi was representing Botswana at the Model United Nations (MUN) conference at Concordia School in Shanghai from the 15th-17th January 2016. This conference being my first meant that I anxiously anticipated what to expect. General Assembly 3 was my committee and it was one of the largest with more than 60 delegates from many different nations. The issues we discussed and debated were child marriage, river blindness, conduct for governments during major sports events and road traffic accidents.
Thorough research was needed to understand these problems and to write a resolution. This meant I had to learn Botswana’s position on the matter as you should follow what your country believes and write a plausible detailed solution to one of these issues. It’s an interesting and challenging process and MUN is most definitely that as it requires an immense amount of effort and work. Yet without it you are an ineffective delegate unable to debate with an in-depth understanding of the issues. MUN really helps students realize that there is a whole world that exists beyond them, and learn a lot. I hadn’t actually heard of river blindness nor realized each year 15 million girls are married as children; this horrendous tradition is still being practiced in the world and requires immediate attention. This MUN experience would encourage students to take an interest in world affairs and learn how the MUN makes polices and changes.
MUN Conference outline:
Day one- merging resolutions and opening speeches. On the first day we brought all of our resolutions into one, we worked as a team to bring our different ideas together into a lengthy resolution that was effective, comprehensive and detailed. I wrote a resolution on “Ending the practice of child marriage, coerced marriage and all forms of involuntary concubinage” as it’s the one that means the most to me. Combating gender inequality is something I’m extremely passionate about and MUN was a place where I could learn how to change things and make real differences.
Day two- debate day. The resolutions made on all the issues were debated by speeches being made for and against and questions and amendments made. I was a little overwhelmed as I was still new to the format of MUN and how it worked. I’ve done other debate competitions but this format is very particular, diplomatic and seemingly with its own language like “Point of personal privilege” or the specific way a resolution is to be written. I was intimidated into silence and didn’t dare speak on the first day which resulted in the delegate of Botswana being called upon for “minimal participation”. So the next day I was determined to speak as my resolution was going to be debated.
Day three- second day of debate and final day of CISSMUN. Our resolution was debated first that morning. As a team we worked together to give speeches and help each other. I racked up the courage to do a speech in favour of the resolution; it was successful and far less intimidating than I thought it would be. I was glad I did it and for the rest of the conference I participated by asking a lot of challenging questions.
Although MUN can be undeniably very tiring and difficult at times I did ultimately enjoy it. Meeting others who were truly passionate about world issues was inspiring and made me agree with what the Concordia’s principal had said in the opening ceremony: “You are the leaders of today”. We are the leaders of today, together we created resolutions that could have solved problems and really have made a difference.