BWYA at THIMUN
Photos and content by Cherry Yan, Grade 10
Between November 19th and the 23rd, the BWYA Model United Nations Club participated in the 14th Annual Session of THIMUN Singapore held at Hwa Chong Institution. Participants came from Grades 9 to DP1, took part in a full range of committees, and took varying occupations that ranged from delegates, president, judge, and press journalist. Students, no matter their experience or whether they were participating in their first MUN conference ever, all left the conference with precious memories and more confidence.
THIMUN Singapore conference, established in 2004 as the sister conference of The Hague Model United Nations, is arguably the most prestigious MUN conference in Asia. Every year, the most globally-aware students gather in Singapore, hold extensive debates over the most controversial topics, many of which the United Nations has no solutions to, and draft comprehensive resolutions that may be delivered to the United Nations.
In the end, MUN is just a simulation of the United Nations, and all discussions are kept subjective, given that delegates are merely students virtually representing a country’s stand. Having participated in MUN conferences as a delegate, I used to wonder whether my effort was spent in the right place, knowing that whatever I said might not even have any significance to alter the real-world situation. And certainly, I am not the only one with this doubt. In fact, leadership, confidence, and public-speaking experience can all be achieved through other events, such as debates, but this year, after being a member of MUNITY East, THIMUN Singapore’s official Press team, I have some confessions to make: MUN is an effective transition into a globalized society and help achieving the BWYA school motto: “Locally Grounded, Globally Aware”.
The first question to ask is: why is it necessary for one to bear knowledge regarding global politics? The answer is that everyone, no matter occupation and major, is a component of the human society. During the conference, the Press team had the pleasure to talk with Mr. Seref Isler, a BBC journalist who actually took part in numerous THIMUN Hague conferences back in high school. His unique MUN experience furthermore aided him in kicking off his journalism career. “Each member of the larger society must learn its essential principles in order to make the right decision and speak justly for the larger good,” said Seref during our workshop. Speaking from this perspective, because of its politically-based attributes, MUN nurtures a student’s fundamental responsibility as a global citizen.
No doubt, it is most effective to learn knowledge through its reinforcement. A student may find it easy to memorize a list of events taken place in history, but may not necessarily be aware of why they have taken place and what impact they have brought to the contemporary world. Therefore, MUN becomes a highly suitable platform that allows students to become aware of factors influencing global politics through implementation of knowledge in debates and speeches. With knowledge reinforced, students become more globally aware, thus are able to make the appropriate decision.
Being globally aware does not only mean “learn your World History well” (although one’s history teacher will be exceptionally gratified), but also means being able to putting oneself in others’ shoes and coming up with a comprehensive solution from which the maximum number of parties are able to benefit. Different from debate, MUN requires a student to develop interpersonal skills, such as communication and negotiation. Tolerance for different voices is another crucial characteristic MUN develops. After asking my fellow students on what they thought was most precious in a conference, almost all of them responded “tolerance”, because “different opinions actually enable students working collaboratively find a comprehensive resolution”. “In a debate, or many other events,” they responded, “there is only one claim that wins. But in MUN, everyone is allowed to have a unique statement on the resolution.”
But MUN is not only able to train one’s public-speaking skills, confidence, and leadership, it is also a wonderful platform through which students become globally aware of political policies and relationships. True, MUN is only virtual, and nearly all of the resolutions do not have any significance to the real-world situation, nevertheless, students are trained to become more responsible for their stance, thereby influencing them to become global leaders in the future.