The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) Singapore
Xuan Lin Tan, Year 10
The THIMUN Foundation had been, for 50 years, reaching out to thousands of students all around world to educate them through the means of dialogue and discussion, the ways of democracy and free speech, and the open exchange of ideas of how to make this world a better place for all of humanity.
This year, 39 earnest students from AISM were able to express their ideas in the prestigious conference set in Singapore. In addition to the five country delegations assigned to AISM, Tim Millar and Kaveen Parthiban served as the conference’s student officers, Sandhaya Sritharan and Airyl Shazli were advocates for Bolivia in the International Court of Justice’s Bolivia vs Chile case, and Xuan Lin Tan and Priyanka Krishna were part of the MUNITY Press Team.
Prior to the conference, all delegates and chairs had been cooperating with each other, and the large amount of work and effort put in was certainly worth the unprecedented experience. The preparation that Mr Broadbent, Mrs Stagg, and Mr Stagg, guided us with was able to aid delegates in their lobbying time of the conference as they already had a brief understanding of each issue and an in-depth understanding of their own. In addition, their drafted resolution papers gave them an advantage to impress other delegations to gather and come to an extremely well-written resolution.
During the three days of debate, all delegates from AISM had productive sessions filled with fruitful debates, intense arguing for their stance, and exploration of new perspectives. Alexander Kam had his resolution passed, Minji Park managed to strongly argue for her delegation’s stance for Ensuring the protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Kimberly Kam gained the ability to communicate over to different minds and solve issues without disputes that compromises the situation of everyone else. Virtually all of our students expressed their stances - whether it be through a resolution, a speech, or an amendment!
With all the diligent work that students had put in in conference sessions, they do deserve some time to relax and to explore the lion city. Students had the chance to break off and enjoy dinner and shopping with their friends in Orchard Road and Clarke Quay - which are arguably one of the best social destinations in Singapore. As a whole school, we also went for a movie night and watched Justice League. However, despite the exhaustion and frustration from the day of activities, there were still tireless discussions about diplomatic affairs heard in the hallways as students settled for lights out.
For most delegates, one of the best highlight was the THIMUN dinner and dance. Everyone dropped their diplomacy and switched it for inner-dancing-queen. Delegates all screamed to the lyrics of whatever song that was blasted through the speakers, some jumped on chairs, suit jackets were flying about, and people were lifted into the air. It was a night where delegates strengthened their bonds with each other, pictures were taken for their instagrams, and social medias was exchanged.
As Airyl Shazli summarized in one sentence : “THIMUN is a unique, unprecedented and inspiring experience which no one should miss out on. It grants the opportunity to collaborate with keen individuals from across the globe, to play a role in the creation of solutions to global issues, to delve into the very apparent reality that is global politics and to possibly discover and develop our character in the process. Most importantly, however, is the opportunity to meet and befriend countless endearing individuals. Personally, THIMUN had brought me out of my shell and I could not recommend it more.”
MODEL UNITED NATIONS AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL MALAYSIA XI
Xuan Lin Tan, Year 10
(RE)SEARCH, ADHERE, MERGE
The core value of any Model United Nations is developed during the initial lobbying stage. In MUNAISM, delegates were given a mass lobbying time that provides the opportunity for merging a resolution, and securing support for one's resolution. As reflected by Jia Shewn Low, it was effective and fruitful as ‘it was easy to get co-signatories’.
Cooperating in lobbying differs widely from what the students were accustomed to in class. Instead of automatically grouping up with someone they would typically team with, the delegates had to cooperate with another delegation that would help affirm their country’s stance. All delegates agree that lobbying is more formal and professional, and it’s imperative that everyone had done the essential research.
“I think that the country’s belief should hold more water than your personal view, as in the UN, it only matters what country you are, not who you are.” Kiesha Venga explained. With that, many delegates believe that affirming a country’s stance proves to be a challenge. As Lharanya Somasundaram said : “You often forget you’re lobbying in your countries favour...but it’s very enlightening.”
However, a number of delegates affirm that it’s interesting to be in such a stage of discussion. As Priyanka Krishna stated : “People’s attitudes are also influenced by their country’s stance, which makes lobbying quite diverse due to the many different beliefs and stances being represented.”
Other challenges that delegates faced in lobbying were in trying to find a common ground while cooperating with other delegates, and in garnering support. As Erja Mohd Suhaimy discussed : “The issue I faced was in merging as we had to ensure that none of the clauses were redundant or contradictory [to each other].”
While there were many rumbles faced by delegates in lobbying and cooperating with each other diplomatically, it is to be recalled that this is a learning experience - so don’t be afraid to express your opinion, as what you say do matter.
TALKS OF DIPLOMACY
The THIMUN Foundation aimed to educate students from all around the world through the means of dialogue and discussion, the ways of democracy and free speech, and the open exchange of ideas of how to make this world a better place for all of humanity. Such an experience provides an enriching complementary education to the subjects learnt in school, and the skills learnt from MUN could help a student in public speaking and expressing ideas. The MUNAISM is held for the Year 8 and Year 9s every year in aims to aid student in achieving such ideals.
For the majority of Year 8 students, this would be their first ever MUN conference. With the intent to help them take their first step, it is mandatory for all Year 8s to give a country speech as the country’s ambassador. For a number of these delegates, it had helped them overcome the daunting atmosphere for the conference. Most delegates were motivated by the interesting topics, but most importantly by the friendly and familiar environment that MUNAISM provides. Asumi Sawada expressed that she was motivated to speak as she had ‘strong opinions that no one had mentioned’. For other delegates, it’s the willingness to participate also not to let their co-members down.
In the perspectives of the Year 9 students, they retain that MUNAISM continues to provide a platform that exposes you to public speaking and that encourages you to express solutions. Many delegates were more open minded in speaking this year as they’re finding the procedures less confusing. For Irish Breen, she was ‘more motivated to speak as [she could] understand the conference much better. As Louie Manders Jones expresses : “If you can speak in front of everyone at a formal event such as MUNAISM, you will have no problem speaking in front of your class.”