Students Attend CISSMUN
On Wednesday morning 16th of January, Team KIS embarked, jittery with excitement at the journey to Shanghai that lay ahead. At the end of the five and a half hour flight over the South China Sea stood CISSMUN X, a challenging international MUN conference with a reputation that attracted premier International Schools from across the world.
On Thursday we had a full day to ourselves to explore the streets of Shanghai. On our small bus we rounded the collosal freeways that spiralled around us, mocking the small roads we travelled on to get to school every day. Tower upon tower surrounded the vehicle but it didn’t stop us from peering like little kids looking at big glass candy jars. We started at the Bund, a beautiful skyline that was unfortunately hazed by a silvery layer of pollution. The sun shone brightly and it was an adequate response to the cold we were unaccustomed to. We explored Shanghai Museum, six levels taking us through the Ming Dynasty all the way to rare jade accessories, worn by empresses hundreds of years ago. The most exciting place was Yu Gardens. Created by an Emperor centuries before to honour his father, it is a place of tranquility and zen, a much needed space for solitude before the conference the next day.
The day everyone had been ‘dreading’ arrived…. the first day of CISSMUN X. We couldn’t think straight at the buffet breakfast, eyeing down the competing schools who were sharing the hotel. I think it was the not knowing what to expect. Will the Chairs force us to speak in front of the entire committee? Will everyone be dressed in a pressed suit and tie? Will my opening speech fit in the one minute that I was granted? Thoughts like these raced through all our minds, but after a 25 minute walk to Concordia, we were finally here, and the only thing in our minds was, we’ve got this.
The first day is always the scariest. It’s like being the new kid in a completely foreign environment. An enormous courtyard with young students welcomed us. We registered in the cafeteria, a room that was filled to the brim with aspiring politicians in perfectly pressed suits and girls with postures so straight you would think that the beams holding up the building came from them. We were given tags on our lanyards that stated our committees and what school we came from. Not long after our new identities were issued we were ushered into our respective parts of the school, ready to start with the first agenda of the day. 8:30am. Roll Call.
When you heard ‘Saudi Arabia’ called into the mic by the Chair you had to respond ‘present and voting’ with a clear, articulated voice while raising your placard high into the air. Soon enough it became routine; the anticipation of your delegation being called, your hand ready on the placard even though the three countries before you haven’t been called yet, the clearing of bile in your throat to make sure your confidence radiates clearly through your voice. The next few days became a flurry of lobbying, resolution writing, speech making and voting. Delegates debating their amendments and resolutions, voices reasonably raised to counteract points and fingers pointing in accusation to rival member states. When voting procedures would occur, admin would suspend all note passing and secure doors, which doesn’t alleviate the anxiety that is already in the room due to such intense debates. Lobbying and merging was the only time you talked to others, trying to reach a consensus on a particular topic at hand. Here are some of the topics that the KISMUN group discussed:
Aaron was in the “Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)”, which dealt with the problems and development of international laws and policies. In GA1, Celeste debated anticipation/monitoring of travels undertaken by terrorism and addressing the issue of illegal global arms trade. A hard job for Edward was trying to work towards resolving global conflicts, in particular the Yemen proxy war and the Rohingya refugee crisis in the UNPBC – United Nations Peacebuilding Committee. In GA4, Rania addressed the rise of nationalism in Europe, election meddling, political violence in West Africa and the rights of non-self governing territories. In the Special Conference Cassidy resolved problems caused by the recent surge of authoritarian leaders. In the Human Rights Council, Chanel debated issues concerning child labour, ending the conflict in Syria, organ trafficking and sex tourism. In GA3, Ryan debated decreasing youth radicalisation and religious extremism. In the Environment Commission, Qawiemah came together with other delegates to find possible solutions for reducing our carbon footprint. In The Disarmament Commission, Zen looked at the tension on the Korean peninsula and the cessation of the use of chemical and biological weapons. In GA6, I debated reconciling sharia law with rights and defining the scope and application of the UN’s jurisdiction.
MUN really opened my perception on the world. The youth of the world are the present and the future. Knowing about the existence of political issues and international affairs should not be considered enough. Engaging your ideas and turning them into solutions to global problems is a catalyst for change. We are a catalyst for change. Stepping into the conference was not a day off from school, it was not a holiday in China. It was a step into becoming global citizens, not just global house guests. Earth is our home, not our hotel and being part of the sociopolitical sphere. Even if it was theoretical, it inspired me to make a change. I learnt that overcoming fears of public speaking and writing is a small price to pay to contribute in the hurricane of ideas that fly around the world. As students we are paving the path for growth in our wake, and although we are just 11 students in a world of 7.7 billion people, CISSMUN instilled a hope in me that even the tiniest cog in a machine can play a big role. A major life decision, is never a choice but rather a realisation that the decision has already been made. And the KIS MUN team has made their decision – it’s time to make a change.