Student empowerment: that is MISMUN in a nutshell. Following on from the resounding success of the first ever MISMUN conference last year, MISMUN 2015 promises to be even bigger and better than ever before. While maintaining the positive ethos of the first conference, we have initiated some positive changes that we believe will take MUN to the next level. Aptly, the theme of MISMUN 2015 is ‘Breaking Taboos’, which is embodied in the controversial topics to be debated.
The conference experience itself will revolve around this theme. One of the taboos we hope to address is that of Model United Nations itself. MUN is perceived to be a ‘nerd’ club; an elitist clique which is inaccessible to the mere mortals in the rest of the school, and only open to a select few who have been recommended by teachers, or written dissertation length letters of motivation. Of course, MUNners have cultivated this image by regaling their friends with tales of mortal embarrassment endured by inexperienced delegates, and of the tremendous amount of work each delegate must complete in preparation for a conference. What these MUNners fail to mention is the tremendous reward that accompanies their work for every conference. Moreover, they glaze over the details of the lighthearted laughter that follows innocent blunders as well as the sense of community and belonging fostered within each committee.
MUN is hard, undeniably so, but this should not deter potential participants from joining. In order to facilitate the journey of new delegates into MUN, at MISMUN 2015, we are offering participant schools the opportunity to be part of non-member delegations. Non-member delegates will be representing organisations such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace, but will not be required to arrive with written resolutions. Their input will be more focused on the conference day itself, as they will aid groups merging resolutions on topics of interest to their organizations, submit amendments and debate.
Once students have taken the initial leap of faith and joined MUN, as they gain momentum and experience, they may find themselves covertly eyeing the senior positions, but more often than not, simply do not pursue them for lack of confidence and faith in themselves. All too aware of this, we have opened up a stepping stone position between delegate and Chair – Trainee Chair. During the build-up to the conference, the trainee chairs will be gaining experience and participating in chair training alongside the other chairs, as well as editing research reports, all of which will provide them with the necessary experience and knowledge to further their MUN journeys.
Finally, in an effort to emulate the United Nations more accurately, MISMUN 2015 will require 100% consensus within each committee in order for a resolution to pass. This will not only challenge delegates to present the most flawless resolutions, it will stimulate constructive debate and encourage amendments, all leading to a more rewarding conference experience. I eagerly look forward to welcoming all participants to what promises to be a truly memorable conference. If you would like to know more about the conference, please visit our website: http://goo.gl/yCP3jk
Hanna Moazam (Secretary General of MISMUN)