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Oakridge Model United Nations: A New Era of Online Diplomacy

By Ms. Tejaswi Polimetla, Grade 12 student at Oakridge International School, Gachibowli, Hyderabad

 

Model United Nations has been a decade long tradition at Oakridge International School, Gachibowli. The annual Oakridge Model United Nations is a simulation of the real United Nations, and brings together students from diverse backgrounds to discuss issues of global importance – from hunger and poverty to disarmament and security. It is an invaluable platform for students to develop their public speaking, critical thinking, and collaboration skills through committee sessions that challenge them to develop creative solutions.

With the news of the pandemic, the future of the conference was uncertain. However, my fellow Secretariat members and I were determined to make the tenth edition of this event a success, and provide opportunities to students even while in quarantine. It was no easy feat – there were many zoom calls, WhatsApp group messages, and late night planning sessions. As the Under Secretary General of Technology, I developed new ways to interact with the participants, including an animated website and coordinated social media feeds. The Public Relations and Charge D’Affaires teams came up with innovative outreach methods to get students involved in the event.

Oakridge MUN link

Months of hard work finally paid off on July 31, 2020 when the tenth edition of Oakridge Model United Nations finally commenced. Over the three days, it boasted seven committees, and over 200 students participating from three different countries. The eager delegates didn’t let time zones get in their way – participants from Ecuador even stayed awake through the night to share their understanding with the Indian delegates. Journalists from the International Press also brought their own twist to the event. Hidden from view behind their laptop screens, these students redefined the meaning of “Investigative Journalism” – cross-examining the true know-how of each delegate. Despite all of the technological glitches, and WiFi problems, the resilience of each and every student and their determination to take action was truly inspiring.

With the same spirit and enthusiasm, the 8th edition of Oakridge Junior MUN was conducted online from 09 to 11 October 2020 with a participation of over 300+ delegates belonging to 9 schools from across India. Delegates enrolled for Junior MUN from Grades 6 to 8 had online training sessions conducted by the students from Junior MUN Secretariat before the Conference. The Junior MUN conference proved to be a perfect virtual platform for the young delegates to debate on issues of global importance.

Considering everything that is going on in the world right now, it is important now more than ever for students to develop a keen global awareness of matters that affect the planet. With more and more conferences going online, it is a perfect time for students to become involved in MUN conferences – after all, everyone is new to this virtual mode of diplomacy! Though the future is uncertain, the students of today can start taking small steps today to become the leaders that the world needs going forward.

It is important now more than ever for students to develop a keen global awareness of matters that affect the planet. With more and more conferences going online, it is a perfect time for students to become involved in MUN conferences – after all, everyone is new to this virtual mode of diplomacy! Tejaswi Polimetla, Grade 12, Oakridge Gachibowli
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