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By Azmeer Akbar
Model United Nations: An educational simulation and an academic activity in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, simulate United Nation committees and learn about the United Nations as a whole. Participants in MUN conferences are required to act as a delegate from different countries and hence, these delegates are able to acquire speaking, debating and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork and leadership abilities. The main purpose of Model United Nations is to engage students and allow them to develop a deeper understanding into current world issues. This will make students more politically- orientated and mature them for the future as they are the soon-to-be bellwethers of our distinguished nation, Malaysia.
On the 5th to the 7th of April, the esteemed annual Malaysian National Model United Nations was attended by over 230 delegates ranging from 12 year olds to 27 year olds who were waiting for their voice to be heard. A total of 21 outstanding individuals from Kolej Yayasan Saad accompanied by Madam Shazra binti Abdul Wahid and Mr Muhammad Hanas bin Shafie adjourned to Sunway University with their heads up high and ready to represent the country they were representing. But before going for the conference, the KYSM delegation spent a week training alongside Madam Shazra and the veterans of the competition also known as the Form 5’s. They had to learn the primary laws, the stance on the topic based in their respective councils and write a position paper based on the country that was chosen for them by MNMUN. In short, they had to act as if they were the proud and democratic citizens of the countries they were representing.
The arrival at Sunway University was memorable as delegates were escorted to the Jeffrey Cheah Hall for the opening ceremony where they met up with the other delegates from various educational institutions. Council sessions started right after and the councils that were simulated during MNMUN were the Malaysian Youth Council (MYC), United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Disarmament International Security Committee (DISEC), the Social
Cultural Humanitarian Council (SOCHUM), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The KYSM delegation participated in three councils namely WFP, SOCHUM and UNEP. During all the council sessions on the first day, the delegates had to lobby and vote on the main topic at hand as each council were given two
main topics but could only tackle one. Thus, each delegate that was willing to speak on behalf of the topic they supported gave their opinion on why that specific topic should be picked. The main reason for this debate was to capture the thoughts of every delegate in the council and
provide discourse towards the subject at hand. Therefore, the topic that was picked for the councils that were represented by KYS were as such:
WFP: The Issue of Food Wastage
SOCHUM: Freedom of Press and Speech
UNEP: The Preservation of Marine Diversity
On the second day, council sessions resumed officially and the procedure was to either start off with the General Speaker’s List, a Moderated Caucus or an Unmoderated Caucus. However, they could still call for a Moderated and an Unmoderated Caucus at a specific time during the council sessions. In a General Speaker’s List, delegates would talk about anything related to
the main topic at hand while as a Moderated Caucus is to discuss and debate about the subsidiary topics to the main topic which is brought up by a fellow delegate. This helps delegates to better understand the elements of the main topic. In an event of an Unmoderated Caucus, delegates are expected to excogitate the topic with other delegates for a specific amount of time. At this point, it is crucial for delegates to discuss with their fellow delegates to form working papers which basically consists of a single resolution to the topic at hand. It is a norm for each council to work on two to three working papers which will be voted on and passed by the council. These working papers become the scaffolding for the resolution paper which would be discussed on the third day. The KYSM delegation spent all night preparing their draft for the resolution paper.
On the third and final day, the delegates debated endlessly and shared their political view on the resolution paper that was drafted by the delegates. It was no doubt the most intense day.The delegates had to form strong alliances and lobby for their stand. After intense sessions, amending and updating the resolution paper, each council’s resolution was finally passed by the chairs and the council as a whole through a voting session where two-thirds of the majority had to vote whether in favour or against.
It was a flavourful experience to say the least. The opportunity they had to exchange point of views with older, more mature students in colleges and universities opened their eyes and exposed them to different perspectives of students from different walks of life. They were able to understand the concept and the detrimental effect of world issues onto a certain country or the world. It is hoped the KYSM delegation learned a lot and will be more motivated to become an exemplary individuals for their fellow friends, family and hopefully the nation. Besides that, MUN also helps stimulate the mindset of delegates to play a part in their countries hope to improve tremendously and be a part of the movement that would change lives of global citizens and make the world a better place for them.
Shazra Abdul Wahid
You have executed the project well. Good job Azmeer, project leader for MUN, 2019