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April, 2018
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To almost all international school students, the Model United Nations (MUN) conferences are an essential part of their education experience. Besides the obvious benefits of “meeting people from all over the world”, “learning about current global issues”, “improving the public speaking skills”, “building up leadership and diplomatic skills” and so on, MUN never ceases to surprise these young and hopeful global citizens to prepare them for the fast-changing world.

During 15-18 March, the 25th Beijing Model United Nations (BEIMUN XXV) was hosted by the International School of Beijing (ISB) on its campus. The theme for this year’s conference was “Justice and Equity in the Age of Globalization”; and a total of over 600 students from 35 schools in 11 countries participated this year.

To many, this is not their only MUN experience, but each year they have enjoyed a unique learning experience. We are lucky to have three students from ISB, BSB (The British School of Beijing) and BWYA (Beijing World Youth Academy) to share their BEIMUN experience this year, how they love MUN, and how MUN will possibly shape their future.

Yoonho C, Grade 12 student International School of Beijing (ISB), is the President of the student-led MUN club at ISB. And this year’s BEIMUN conference marks his fourth and also the last MUN conference in his High School career.

“My very first BEIMUN was back in 2014 (BEIMUN XXI) when I participated as an administrative staff member, helping to pass notes. In the subsequent years, I participated in BEIMUN as the delegate of Bhutan in the Special Conference, a judge of the International Court of Justice, and the panelist of France in the Advisory Panel. Aside from BEIMUN, I have been to other MUN conferences, such as Dulwich International Model United Nations in 2013 (DIMUN III) and Malaysian Model United Nations in 2014 (MYMUN XI), The Hague International Model United Nations at Singapore in 2015 (THIMUN Singapore XI) and a few others.

I have the honor of serving as the Secretary General in the Secretariat team alongside 3 other Deputy Secretary Generals to coordinate BEIMUN XXV this year. The Secretariat was responsible for selecting all of the topics for all the committees and councils in accordance with this year’s conference theme: Justice and Equity in the Age of Globalization.

I remember spending more time with my deputies in crafting the topics for the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly (committee focusing on legal affairs). Topics from that committee include ensuring the criminal accountability of United Nations personnel during missions and the question of the legality of autonomous vehicles.

It’s really hard to try and pinpoint what I sincerely enjoy about MUN, after doing it for over 6 years. After a few conferences, many of my friends thought things seem to be repetitive so they end up quitting MUN as a whole. Reasons to continue MUN should not just be limited to “learning more about current events” or “nurturing one’s eloquence”. To put it in simple terms, I enjoy meeting and working with fellow students from all around the world. Because every conference allows me to not only learn more about global issues and hone my speaking skills, each year I get to add new branches to my growing network of intellectuals.

As I climbed up the rungs of the MUN ladder, I realized that you learn less and less about global politics, but you acquire some important life skills that will allow you to survive in today’s “rough” world. Unfortunately, as an executive student officer, I am unable to participate in fruitful and amusing debate with the other participants. However, I do get to facilitate all the background processes to ensure that delegates have engaging and memorable sessions during BEIMUN. As I worked with diverse groups of advisors and student officers from around the world, I realized that I learned more about my personality and how to work with others in preparation for BEIMUN XXV. During the event, I also learned crucial leadership skills such as being able to make effective decisions on the spot and coordinating an event involving over 500 people.

Despite my lack of participation in committee sessions, I was still able to make many new friends this year. In fact, I have become quite acquainted with all the student officers over the course of the conference and have made several promises to meet some of them after I graduate in May.

I really love how MUN now teaches you more than what it intended to do, which was to solely nurture the youth’s passion for politics and the betterment of society. It is BEIMUN’s tradition to have unprecedented “crisis situations” for committees during debate. These crises are typically performed by the executives and are intended to challenge delegates to craft and debate resolutions within 30 minutes. This year, I immensely enjoyed performing a crisis to the Disarmament Commission on Russia’s sudden mobilization of military troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

Seungwook Kim, Year 11 student at The British School of Beijing (BSB) Shunyi Campus, attended the BEIMUN conference for the second consecutive year.

“I also have attended a number of other MUN conferences before, such as CISSMUN in Shanghai this year, last year’s BEIMUN and two BRITMUN conferences, held annually in our school.

In this year’s BEIMUN, I was the delegate of the United Arab Emirates in the First General Assembly, focusing on ‘Disarmament and International Security’.

Of the three topics that we debated on throughout the conference in our committee, the topic that I was interested in the most was “Ensuring adherence of member nations of the Geneva Conventions”. This topic interested me the most due to the fact that although the First Geneva Convention was first held in 1864 and first signed by a few European nations that mostly does not exist anymore, the Geneva Conventions remain just as significant as before today, if not more.

As a delegate, the main objective of the conference is to pass resolutions with fruitful and realistic solutions to combat the given issue. When voting on a resolution or amendment, it is very important as a delegate to stay in the stance of one’s country, rather than his own opinion, which can be quite difficult at times.

What I really enjoy about MUN is that it’s a program that allows ordinary students to experience what it is like to be powerful and influential people and solve many grave issues that emerged in the world with others.

Through this event, I was able to learn about ongoing problems all around the world, and how we are privileged to live this way. Moreover, I’ve learnt some essential skills, such as public speaking, research, solving problems and negotiation.

And I have made friends from all over the world in BEIMUN and we still keep in touch. The guest speaker of the conference, Mr. Peter Dalglish’s moving speech was also fascinating.

The MUN group in our school, especially the junior team, is a student-led group, which allows our members to share first-hand experiences and tips with each other. It is considerably popular in our school, and surprisingly, much of our team is composed of younger students. Our team tries to attend as much as conferences as we can. Moreover, I have never seen a single member of our team decided to leave the group.”

Masoud Tavana, Grade 10 student at Beijing World Youth Academy (BWYA), has also attended BEIMUN for the second time.

“This year I was a delegate for Denmark and hoped to act as a main submitter during the conference.

I really wanted to be a main submitter this year and lead one of the groups. I saw that one of the issues we would be discussing was cyber-terrorism and cyber-security, and this really interests me so I made sure I did plenty of research and preparation before the conference.

When you join your group at BEIMUN everyone decides together who the main submitter should be. I think doing the background research really helped me as the group chose me! For our submission, we focused on programs that economically developed countries already have in place and suggested how they could be used by less developed countries. I was really proud of the work our group did.

I really enjoy being part of BWYA’s MUN club and attending MUM events like BEIMUN. It’s great to hear all the different perspectives everyone has on solving the issues we discuss. I think it’s good to meet people who have different beliefs and ways of looking at things.

Being part of the MUN Club also means you get to learn a lot more things that aren’t covered in our lessons, world issues and things like that. I think it also helps you improve skills that are going to help you when you get older and leave school. You have to be good at collaborating and communicating and you need good debating and negotiating skills as well.”

By Qin Chuan

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