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NAISMUN IV By Benedicte Vestrum

04 December 2017

NAISMUN is an annual MUN conference held in November at NAIS Pudong. This year, it was an honour for our Secretariat to host NAISMUN IV, a two-day event, on November 18TH and 19TH. With 10 schools in attendance, 140 delegates and 16 chairs participated in the conference.

Model United Nations (MUN) is a simulation of the procedures of the United Nations, an international organisation dedicated to improving and facilitating dialogue between nations. During an MUN conference, students will act as representatives of a country (a ‘delegate’) to discuss issues of global importance. This may range from land disputes between nations to human rights abuse incidents. A key characteristic of MUN is the writing of resolutions (documents which outline methods to resolve issues), which are then debated upon in the conference. MUN is an activity that develops many important skills, including public speaking and collaboration. As a result, MUN has become a popular extracurricular around the world.

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On the first day, delegates and directors arrived at the NAIS Pudong Performing Arts Centre auditorium, received their lanyards and director packs, and were seated for the Opening Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony started with a song from the IB choir. The song chosen for the ceremony was ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon, which is an anthem for peace and harmony. The lyrics served as an inspiration for all participants, priming them to aim for resolutions based on mutual benefits for all stakeholders involved. Following this, our MUN director, Mr Gichana, made the opening address to delegates and directors. It was also an honour to invite Mr Seif Usher, the British Consulate-General in Shanghai, to speak about his experiences as a diplomat. Mr Usher works with the UK Department for International Trade, facilitating diplomatic relations between China and the UK. His recount of 30 years of service in countries in the Middle East, Africa, and now Asia, gave us all great insight into what a career in politics and international relations can offer. Finally, our Secretary-General, Cindy Son, extended a warm welcome and shared her experiences in MUN.  She described how she was inspired by the noble goal of the UN, and how MUN has become a platform to voice her views and listen to various perspectives on global issues. Combined with the words from our Secretary-General, an overall hopeful message resonated with the delegates.

After the Opening Ceremony, delegates made their way to the committee rooms. Over-night, the C-block first and second floor classrooms had been transformed by the Secretariat and a few volunteers. Our Press team had made sure that delegates were well-equipped for the conference. Each delegate received a pack containing a delegate guide and notepaper to use during debate.

NAISMUN IV contained eight committees including: the Security Council, the Environmental Committee, the Human Rights Committee, the Youth Committee, the Future Crisis Committee, General Assemblies I and II, and the Economic and Social Council. Each committee focuses on problems related to certain themes. For example, the Environmental Committee focuses only on issues related to the environment. A list of topics can also be accessed from the NAISMUN website.

First, each committee started with a roll-call. The committees then moved onto lobbying and merging, a stage which involves drafting resolutions before they are debated upon. After a delicious lunch, organised by our Press team, delegates finally started debate on their resolutions. Observing the various committees, I was particularly impressed by the flexibility and quick wit that many delegates showcased, especially in response to the often-difficult questions posed by other delegates. The committees adjourned at around five-o-clock; delegates were exhausted after a long day of debate.

The second day was filled with anticipation and suspense. Delegates were directed straight to their committee rooms to continue with debate on their resolutions.

The closing ceremony was a celebration of the achievements of the delegates. Chairs made speeches about the successes of their committees, including how many resolutions were passed and the quality of debate. During debate, the chairs of each committee had also chosen two delegates to receive the best delegate and the most improved delegate certificates. These two certificates are awarded based on certain criteria, including public speaking and diplomacy. After announcing the recipients of the awards, our principal, Mrs Wallace, addressed delegates about the importance of MUN. She highlighted how MUN could help improve many important skills. Finally, the conference was closed by the Secretary General, Benedicte Vestrum.

Watching delegates leave was a bittersweet event. It was finally settling in that a year’s worth of planning, filled with expectation and hope, was finally over. We had managed to host a successful conference.

During the process of planning NAISMUN IV, we outlined three goals which we wanted to fulfil. The first was to expand our MUN extracurricular activity and involve more students from our school. This we managed to achieve through countless assemblies and a bit of campaigning. The second goal was to integrate inexperienced and generally younger delegates, allowing them experience within a more formal setting. We believe that this was successfully targeted; the Youth Committee, which focused on core MUN skills, is a clear example of this. The final goal was to continue a legacy, and perhaps establish a tradition. Around this time last year, our Secretariat took over from the previous organisers. In light of this, it is an honour to announce that NAISMUN V will be taking place next year.

Serving as Secretary-General for NAISMUN IV was an incredible opportunity, and one which I am very thankful for. Despite the many obstacles which we faced leading up to the conference, I feel that our Secretariat have managed to achieve the goals which we set in the beginning, as proven by the success of our conference. Therefore, thank you to each member of the Secretariat for your effort and support. The Secretariat would also like to thank our directors and the teachers who supported us; your guidance and help has been invaluable.

We hope to hear about the successes of NAISMUN V next year!