June 1, 2016
Emily, Year 11, Century Park Campus
Among the various after-school activities offered at YCIS Shanghai, one is my favourite -- Model United Nations (MUN), an educational simulation and experiential programme that provides students with a better understanding of the inner workings of the United Nations and a forum to hone skills in diplomacy, negotiation, critical thinking, compromise, public speaking, writing, and research.
MUN draws a diverse group of informed students and faculty from around the world to address current global issues. Recent conferences I’ve attended have tackled questions of urban development and sustainable transportation, conflicts in Syria, and the protection and perseverance of native tribes in South America.
Participants in Model UN conferences, known as delegates, are placed in committees and assigned countries, or occasionally they may be asked to represent members of other organisations or political groups. Students are presented with their assignments in advance, along with the topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent.
During conferences, this has meant that my personal opinion was often irrelevant and I had to adopt an entirely different view on controversial topics. Although this has been a challenge for me from time to time, participating in MUN itself has been a very rewarding experience.
MUN is also a wonderful opportunity to meet people from around the world and engage in absolutely captivating debates. I would highly recommend it as an extra-curricular activity for anyone looking to become more knowledgeable and wanting to better understand the politics of the world!