2016 Aug 5
By: Ramesh Ganohariti & Shani Asokan
The Model United Nations (MUN) conferences in Sri Lanka have a history of over two decades. Some of the current MUN conferences being held are Sri Lanka MUN, Colombo Operated MUN, and most recently Indian International MUN.
The upcoming addition to MUN is the National Youth Model United Nations (NYMUN), which is scheduled to be held on the 20th and 21st of August. Unlike other MUN conferences that target school students, NYMUN hopes to provide the opportunity to a more mature demographic, namely 16-30 year-olds, to engage in MUN. By doing this, the conference aims to bring together senior school students, university students, and young professionals in one forum to discuss vital issues that affect society. Unlike other conferences in Sri Lanka, this MUN is a fully youth-initiated and youth-run conference, and aims to provide the youth of Sri Lanka with a chance to experience more than just a simulation of the United Nations. The Secretariat hopes to create a new MUN environment, through innovations to MUN protocol that changes the perception of MUN.
This year’s NYMUN Conference, which will be held at the Bandaranaike Center for International Studies (BCIS), will comprise six committees; the Security Council, General Assembly I, ECOSOC, UNHRC, the European Union, and the Arab League. In the committees, experienced MUN chairs will be committed to engage everyone in the debate and provide them with an equal voice. In addition, each committee will have independent panelists who are veteran MUNers.These independent panelists will work with the Chairs in judging and selecting the best delegates in each committee. The aim is to ensure awards go to the most deserving delegates.
A new aspect is the structure of the Foreign Policy Statement (FPS). The NYMUN FPS will mean delegates should include their own policy recommendation for the country they represent. Also, having partnered with BCIS, the Secretariat plans to co-publish the outcomes (i.e. resolutions). By doing this, the secretariat believes that the delegates will have the responsibility to do their best and create substantial resolutions. Thus, NYMUN strives to ensure that the outcomes of the conference (i.e. resolutions) are taken seriously, and not just thrown away at the end of the conference.
The International Cauldron (www.intca.org) is the Press Corps partner for NYMUN’16 and will be operating the International Press Corps (IPC) at the conference. Unlike the typical IPC, the IntCa will operate independently and will report with the audience at heart instead of as part of the organizing committee with a vested interest in presenting the conference in the best possible light. IntCa will help bring together a number of innovations at the conference.
Through Intca’s live tweeting, the delegates in different committees would be able to update each other on the proceedings of each committee. For example, if the US delegate in GA1 goes against a delegate’s foreign policy, IntCa members or another delegate can inform the whole conference through live tweeting. Through this, not only will the delegates be able to share information as it happens, but they will also be able to learn about the importance of Social Media in relation to international policy and decision-making.
Another innovation that will be used is Sli.do, an online platform for conducting live polls and asking questions. Using this platform, delegates will be able to ask questions (and get answers) from the head table and delegates, instead of using the very much-outdated chits or notes, which are passed around by admins. Furthermore, delegates will be able to freely use their laptops and phones to assist them in committee proceeding. The bottom-line is that NYMUN is embracing the importance of technology in modern times.
Through these new innovations the Secretariat hopes to make these MUN conferences more realistic, such that they are no longer regarded as a space to “dress up” and “play diplomat”. The Secretariat believes that the potential of Sri Lankan youth has not been directed in a proper way, and thus wishes to create a platform where they can freely discuss issues in a diplomatic way.
The NYMUN Secretariat is clearly committed to build on the conference of this year, and make it an annual and an all-inclusive conference, by bringing in youth from all over the island. So if you want to become a part of the inaugural National Youth Model United Nations, apply now!
Delegate applications opened on the 25th of July, so if you’re interested in being a part of a new and exciting MUN project, then join NYMUN by signing up on their Facebook page – National Youth Model United Nations Sri Lanka or their website – nymun.connectsl.org
(The writers are Editors of The International Cauldron, a youth opinion platform, and the original article can be found at intca.org)