This year’s much-anticipated THIMUN conference, held at the Hwa Chong Institute in Singapore, began on Tuesday 19th November. Following the success of our own MCMUN debate last term, to which pupils from Year 8 were invited, Model United Nations attracted a number of eager Shell pupils this term, and as such, our four delegations at THIMUN Singapore represented a broader cohort of pupils than ever, ranging from the Shell through to the Upper Sixth. Our older, more experienced pupils were able to play a vital role in advising our younger delegates and boosting their confidence in the run-up to what can be a daunting experience. This clearly did the trick, as many of our Shell were amongst the most vocal of the conference, speaking with poise and eloquence to packed committees.
This year Marlborough College Malaysia represented the Syrian Arab Republic, Bulgaria, Viet Nam and, for the first time, occupied a much-coveted P5 seat as the Russian Federation. This gave our pupils a voice on the Security Council, in which João Nina Matos and Avikgna Linganathan successfully co-submitted a resolution on the situation in Venezuela, presenting with brilliant conviction to get it passed. The quality of debate in the SC is always extremely high, but the two boys more than held their own and enjoyed immersing themselves in the more aggressive atmosphere that characterises this committee, where vetoes are regularly used to frustrate the process of problem-solving.
Issues debated in the General Assembly Committees (GAs) included the situation in Kashmir; the status of Guam and Gibraltar; debt trap diplomacy in Asia; ensuring the protection and support of young children in armed conflicts; and the effects of palm oil plantations in the South East Asian rainforests. Bryan Chan, representing Viet Nam, had his resolution on the exploitation of children in Southeast Asia debated in GA3 (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), although he faced fierce criticism from the Croatian delegate. Oliver Grubb, in the same committee, submitted a well-timed but ultimately unpopular amendment, speaking with confidence in the face of overwhelming opposition. In GA1 (Political and Disarmament), Max In’t Hof made countless points of information, while Phoebe Cheung, representing Bulgaria in the Human Rights Council, made a successful challenge to an ultra-conservative resolution attacking LGBTQ+ rights, ultimately helping to frustrate the Saudi resolution’s passage when the voting process occurred.
THIMUN 2019 once again proved what a valuable endeavour Model UN can be, educating our pupils about the world around them, but, more importantly, challenging them to actively engage with some of the most contentious and challenging issues facing today’s politicians and diplomats. Delegates cannot just sit back passively at a MUN conference whilst others act; they have to research their country’s position, offer solutions, critique others’ arguments and articulate their ideas, all the while learning to work alongside delegates from all over Asia that they have only just met. Watching all the pupils grow in confidence as the week progressed was perhaps the most rewarding element of our week; many of them were really proud to tell us that they had made four or five points of information that day, that they had taken to the lectern for the first time, or successfully offered an amendment. They left the conference with a much more intricate understanding of the role the United Nations plays in international peacekeeping and diplomacy, and with a new appreciation of the role that they, as the next generation of leaders, might play in making our world a safer, fairer and more tolerant place.