M'KIS Students Take the Podium at THIMUN Singapore
From November 16-20, students from across the world met on the global, virtual stage at THIMUN Singapore for the first ever THIMUN Online Conference. The conference is a dynamic, five-day simulation of a United Nations conference and an opportunity for students to put their diplomacy, debating, and problem-solving skills to the test as they tackle some of today's most pressing issues, from human rights to economic policy and global health issues.
We're incredibly proud to have had several M'KIS students participating in the conference this year, many of them for the first time! Under the leadership of M'KIS MUN chairs Abhi Lahiri and Shreya Sagar, the M'KIS team included Aditya Sharma, Maleeha Keswani, Shreeya Sanjeev, Aashvi Rajput, Serena Ogara, Tobi Joynt, Shaqir Rafiq Bin Amir Razif, Gabriel Bote, and Leon Ritz. Not only did our students prepare and train together virtually, but they fully embraced the spirit of the conference and exercised their diplomacy skills on the public stage.
Read on to hear about the conference, the challenges of preparing for this unique event, and why activities like MUN are so vital for preparing global leaders that are prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century!
Q & A with Abhi Lahiri and Shreya Sagar, M'KIS MUN Student Leaders
Can you tell us a little bit about what the THIMUN conference is all about, and what normally happens there?
The Hague International Model United Nations, or THIMUN, is an organization based in the home of the United Nations Peace Palace in the Netherlands, which facilitates MUN conferences globally. The goal of the conference is encouraging international collaboration to resolve issues and challenges of global significance. This is achieved through a week filled with discussion, debate, learning and problem solving with students from all over the world representing various nations and organizations in specialized committees like the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The conference also provides an excellent opportunity to network with international peers and learn from distinguished guest speakers who are often real UN diplomats or members of various international organizations. — Abhi Lahiri
What role will M’KIS be playing this year? What issues will you be discussing?
M’KIS has nine delegates and one student officer participating in the conference. The role of the delegates is very essential to formulating resolutions to issues in the conference. Delegates conduct research before conferences, and come up with policy proposals, staying true to the actual position of the country/organization they represent. The issues that will be discussed this year range from promoting education for disadvantaged populations in ECOSOC to methods to eliminate child exploitation in the Human Rights Committee (HRC). — Shreya Sagar
For some M’KIS students, this will be the first year that they’ve ever participated in a conference. What has that been like for the team as you prepare and work together?
The majority of the THIMUN delegates from M’KIS are participating for the very first time! It was quite a challenge to prepare them for the conference, considering that there was an extension of the Conditional Movement Control Order.
Due to this, the team was unable to meet at school physically and we had to conduct meetings online for the participants to acquaint them with the different aspects of the conference. We had one or two meetings every week before the conference to go over the procedures of the conference and the general flow of debate. We provided the newcomers with many resources such as articles, videos and demonstrations of what happens in an actual conference. Additionally, holding meetings helped us check in with the delegates who are participating for the first time. — Shreya Sagar
What are you most looking forward to this year as you participate in THIMUN?
One thing I most look forward to at every conference is seeing the gradual development of ideas that culminates into a series of resolutions that posit interesting, collaborative solutions to major global issues. This journey involves thought-provoking debates that attempt to answer pressing global questions, and facilitating these discussions as the chair of a committee is always an enthralling endeavor.
It is also exceptionally exciting to see new delegates grow into their roles, become engaged and embrace the spirit of the conference. With a large cohort of strong new delegates from M’KIS this year, I am particularly looking forward to watching how they adapt to challenges in this new online format and how they use our training to perform to the best of their abilities. — Abhi Lahiri
What has it been like to prepare for THIMUN as we all learn and work from home? What has been the most challenging part?
Preparing for THIMUN online has been a unique challenge. Every delegate has shown excellent initiative and enthusiasm in this time, rising up to the challenge and doing everything we as trainers set out for them to do. As part of my chairing responsibilities, I had additional online meetings with the Student Officer and THIMUN Board teams in order to thoroughly understand the nuances of the online conference and make the transition smoother for the delegates.
The most challenging part of preparation has undoubtedly been the lack of face to face interaction, which initially hampered progress. But we have had numerous meetings over the course of the weeks leading up to THIMUN, have used several online resources, and are as prepared as possible for the conference. — Abhi Lahiri
Why do you think MUN is valuable for today’s students to participate in?
I think one of the most valuable aspects of MUN is that it boosts your confidence and helps you acquaint yourself with important global issues. Similarly, it develops leadership skills as you try to put forth your country’s stance and convince other delegates that it is the best solution. It also enhances your public speaking and negotiation skills. Through MUN, delegates also gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the United Nations and build skills in diplomacy, compromise and decision-making. Another valuable aspect of MUN conferences is that it improves your collaboration skills as delegates form alliances with other countries and organizations and work in close relation to them, holding similar beliefs and views with regard to the issue. MUN helps all participants to critically think about the issues at hand and formulate resolutions that are reasonable as well as feasible. — Shreya Sagar