Monday, 5 January 2015

by Akhilan Manivannan, Junior 1 Higgs, Class of 2015

From the 10th of November to the 15th of November 2014, Cempaka Schools had its first MUN(Model United Nations) Conference. The MUN is a mock imitation so to speak of an actual United Nations Conference where there are “Chairs” to moderate the assembly and “Delegates” representing the various nations in attendance. In the conference(particularly in the Security Council) delegates address a wide range of world issues in an ordered and formal fashion in order to come up with joint action plans and resolutions. 

To do this however is no easy feat.

Participants had to learn and utilise many terms and orders used in actual UN conferences, an absolutely tedious and arduous process to get anything done really. This basically is done through debating, moderated caucuses, unmoderated caucuses, introducing plans, voting to recognise plans, more debating, voting to apply the plan and all that just to have it veto-d ultimately by one unhappy delegate. Completely frustrating and time consuming, participants truly learned to appreciate the work done by the UN and it’s delegates as it truly isn’t as simple as it seems.

Through the MUN, participants really got to learn the importance of debating and speaking skills, not to mention critical thinking ability as we were put to the test to solve unbelievably troublesome crises. We were also learned to set aside differences and egos as we struggled to make productive discussions, a very common hurdle in the real world. Because of this delegates got to realise first hand how tricky it is to navigate through different peoples opinions in order to get to your point. Every single word you say is taken into account both on a personal and ideological level. Certain nations may even be utterly unreasonable and hell bent on denting the ultimate UN goal of peace, and no i’m not just talking about you “North Korea”.

Another important lesson the MUN teaches you is a very difficult skill to learn but one of the most useful abilities in the world today. Negotiating and forming alliances. Be it the workplace, the family home or even the schoolyard, circumventing obstacles is key and humans are typically tasked with sweet talking their way our of problems, negotiating and ultimately being charismatic and compelling. Without forming alliances and convincing people of your ideas the world would not be half as far as it is now, and this is clearly presented with the UN, and taught to us in turn with the MUN. Being the delegate of ASEAN, with no nuclear weapons or military strength whatsoever and facing issues from juggernauts like China, India and North Korea, I experienced the necessity first hand with whom I needed to compel and whom I needed to keep at bay, an ability I certainly will remember for the rest of my life.

All in all the Cempaka MUN was a brilliant and engrossing event that all of us participants are extremely grateful for. We will never forget the incredible memories of Amalina(one of the best chairs) repeatedly telling the Australian delegate to stop speaking in first person, and Vivek embracing the role of North Korea oh so well, declaring war on the world and disbanding from the UN in one swift, awesome motion. Long live MUN!

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