Over the four days of debate, the students who attend THIMUN first work collaboratively with the other members of their committee to craft solutions to a wide range of pressing global issues. Interacting in this way with students from 200 other schools from around the world - with more than 3000 student delegates altogether - is an amazing opportunity to forge new connections and friendships, whilst also being exposed to a range of different opinions.
Once they have worked together to create a possible solution through lobbying, the students must then defend their ideas in an open forum, which at THIMUN can consist of more than 100 other students. It takes considerable courage, and strong skills of communication, for the students to stand up in front of their peers and present their ideas in a confident and persuasive manner. They often do this with very little time to prepare or rehearse, and I am consistently amazed at the eloquence and confidence with which they express themselves.
While the student’s attendance at local conferences in Cambodia helped them develop the necessary skills to succeed, attending a conference on the scale of THIMUN is something completely new. The students were pushed well outside of their comfort zone and displayed considerable resilience. Attending THIMUN is for many students a culmination of years and years of MUN experience.
Of course, it was not all about MUN – the students also had the opportunity to explore the sights of Amsterdam and the Hague during our week away. Experiencing famous artworks by Rembrandt and Van Gogh while also experiencing a very different culture to their own were valuable experiences for our students that they will hold in their memory for a lifetime.
For now, it is back to regular school routines, but the experience gained at this event is likely to influence the students personal and academic development in years to come. I am personally already looking forward to leading another group of students to this amazing event next year.