Journal 1 – 22/07/2016
Today was the first day of the Indian International Model United Nations – Coimbatore, and there were about 70 people from our school in grades 8, 9 and 11 (DP Year – 1) , taking part in this MUN conference. I was given the delegation of the United States of America in the Human Rights Council (HRC), which was one of the most prestigious committees in the event. The competition was held in CS Academy, and today, the opening ceremony of the event was held in the venue. I was so glad that there were no committee sessions on the first day, because it was my first MUN, and honestly I did not prepare much for the event, being the delegate of a major P5 country – USA.
Before going off to CS Academy, we had to change from our school uniform to the formal attire (a suit with tie) prescribed for the conference, in our school hostel. We all looked quite classy in our formal look, and we were engrossed in taking group photos in our fancy look. By the time we knew it, we were already off to CS Academy in our school bus.
The opening ceremony was scheduled to begin at 5:00 pm, and after registration we had some time to wander around the campus, grab a few snacks and click a few pictures. When we entered the event hall, there were hundreds of chairs neatly arranged in rows, occupied by competitors like us from different schools. As we took our seats in the hall, a few students from CS Academy had just begun the opening speech. There was a beautiful lamp placed on the stage, and it was lit by Loraine, the director of IIMUN – Coimbatore. After the official inauguration of the event, a list of opening speeches were given by the director, the secretary general, and a few other leading personnel of the event. We then enjoyed a couple of dance (Indian classical) and musical performances put up by the school students, and the opening ceremony soon came to an end.
Journal 2 – 23/07/2016
Our first committee session had begun today. In fact, we had a total of 3 committee sessions, and today was quite exhaustive. The dress code for the day was Indian traditional, and I wore a dhoti! In the first session, our chair briefly explained to us the Rules of Procedure (ROP), and generally discussed about the committee’s agenda. Firstly, before starting the debate, the chair initiated a roll call to note each delegate’s presence in the committee, where we had to raise our pluck card when our country was called.
The agenda of the committee was Implementation of Social Media with access to Information and Technology as a basic human right. It is such a long agenda, and there are so many aspects of it to be discussed in the committee session. As I felt quite unprepared yesterday, I spent a few hours researching on the topic last night, and prepared my opening speech on the agenda for the GSL. After the ROP was explained and the instructions were made clear, the formal debate began. In the 1st and 2nd committee session we had the general speakers list (GSL), where every delegate had to speak regarding the agenda, with relation to their country’s policies for about 1 minute. The GSL was in a random order, and I was one of the first countries to be called. I walked up to the front of the classroom, and with a deep breath, I started off my speech with a loud and asserting voice. In my speech I voiced out that the government of the US was in support of the agenda, so that other delegates with similar stances could collaborate together with me, and form a bloc to draft a resolution for the agenda together. In the end, I felt that I delivered my speech with clarity and confidence.
In the third session, we had a few moderated caucuses, which is an informal way of debate, where a delegate recognized by the chair would propose a sub-topic under the main agenda which he/she would like to discuss in the committee. This would be followed by an informal vote by a show of placards, and a 51% or more majority is required for the motion to pass. If the motion fails, the chair would move on to recognize other delegates, until one of the motions passes. But alas, to my luck, I was unable to get recognized by the chair to propose a moderated caucus during the session. However, I was able to get involved in a moderated caucus proposed by another delegate. There was a heated debate between those for (including me) and those against the agenda. Although the delegates of China and Australia were against the agenda (and hence against us), they were able to come up with good points, and presented their arguments very well. After the moderated caucuses, we had to write down our working papers by the end of the session, where each delegate had to write down their viewpoints and stances
After three tiring committee sessions, we finally had some time to enjoy ourselves and have dinner during the social event – DJ Night. We changed into casual clothes from dhoti before going for the event. Music and songs were played through huge woofers, and colored lights were flashed across the dark hall. Although only some of my friends were able to take part in the event, we had great fun watching others dance, and throwing in a few moves ourselves!
Journal 3 – 24/07/2016
It’s finally over, and we (TIPS) had won the overall best school delegation award! Today was the final day of IIMUN, and our committee had proposed 3 resolutions in the 2 sessions that we had for the day. Today’s debate and discussion seemed much more interesting than yesterday, as we had more interaction with other delegates to form a bloc, and to draft a resolution together.
In the first session, before forming blocs and drafting resolutions, the committee re-initiated GSL so that the delegates who did not speak yesterday were given a chance to speak today. After that, we had a few more moderated caucuses on the agenda, and I could see that today many delegates were willing to participate in the session. There were more placards raised today than yesterday, and getting recognized to speak during the debate became much harder.
By the end of the first session, we had 20 minutes of un-moderated caucus to form blocs and to create our draft resolution. The committee was split into 3 blocs, where 2 blocs were against the agenda and 1 bloc was for. I was part of the bloc which was for, and although there were 2 blocs against us, we had the most number of signatories for our resolution, and we were the largest bloc in the committee. The delegate of Mexico and I, were the main authors of the resolution formed by our bloc. I am content that in my very first MUN experience, I was a main author of our bloc’s resolution, and that I was able to make a significant contribution to the resolution.
After lunch, we had the last committee session of IIMUN, where we only discussed one draft resolution proposed by the other bloc (which was against). The key members of the bloc came in front of the class, projected their resolution on the screen, and started reading and explaining every point that was present in their resolution. Unfortunately, two blocs, including our own, did not have enough time to present their proposed resolutions. We were very disappointed that we couldn’t present our resolution, however we knew that our resolution still had a good chance of being passed in the committee, by the rule of simple majority, as our resolution had the most number of signatories compared to the others.
The last committee session was coming to an end. The voting procedure for drafting one resolution out of three proposed ones had begun. The resolution with the least number of votes was eliminated first, and there were two resolutions left, our bloc’s (for the agenda) and the main rival bloc’s (against the agenda). It was a really close contest of votes between us and them, but I was quite confident that we had the edge of winning. The number of placards raised also seemed to be more for our resolution, when compared to theirs. But to everyone’s utter dismal, the chair declared that the rival bloc had won with 2 votes more than us. The announcement was quickly followed by a lot of jeering from the delegates, because we were so sure that our resolution would be passed. It was really a shock for us, and we were left with no words. After the drafting of the resolution, the committee adjourned debate, with all of us having no choice but to accept the rival bloc’s resolution. Nevertheless, I went forth and congratulated my rivals (Delegate of China and Australia) for their astonishing win, and we proceeded to the main hall again for the closing ceremony.
We had the award presentation ceremony, and a few classmates of mine had won best delegation in their respective commitees! It was such a proud moment to cheer for them, as they walked up to the stage to collect their awards. Although I did not individually get any awards, I was personally content that i had spoken well for my very first MUN experience. After the individual awards, all of us jumped in joy and ran up the stage (all 70 of us!) when our school was proclaimed as the overall best delegation of IIMUN – Coimbatore! Our CAS supervisor Mr. Rolf received the trophy from the IIMUN director Loraine, and it was an ecstatic moment for all of us, when our school had won the best delegation amidst so many schools which had competed in the event.