Model United Nations (MUN) has been going from strength to strength in recent years at MCM. After two appearances at THIMUN (The Hague International Model United Nations) Singapore, over the past two years, the MCM MUN group joined the highest level of the event in January 2018, with our first attendance at the THIMUN Conference in The Hague in The Netherlands. The THIMUN Conference was celebrating its 50th year in 2018 and so there could not have been a better year to have joined it. The conference was addressed by the King and former Queen of the Netherlands and the Opening Ceremony was attended by representatives from diplomatic missions from around the world.
Twenty pupils from MCM attended, accompanied by Mr Unsworth and Ms Ambigaibalan. The pupils were given the honour of representing New Zealand and the World Health Organisation (WHO), across thirteen different Committees and Commissions, discussing and attempting to solve a broad range of global issues. These included: nuclear weapon disarmament on a global scale; measures to prevent exploitation of refugees by criminal organisations; promoting micro-financing of small businesses; expanding access to education for children in isolated rural areas; the rise of nationalism in Europe; eradicating child marriages; prevention of food waste; affordable technological solutions to achieve sustainability; and ocean acidification and its impact on ecosystems. Further topics covered issues as diverse as changing consumer lifestyles to reduce reliance on plastic; protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies; ensuring the protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; promoting education and programmes regarding cultural and natural world heritage; and promoting inclusive education of girls and women, to name but a few.
The New Zealand delegation was ably led by Terrenjit Gill and the WHO delegation was similarly well led by Sarah Zhari. Within their teams, the delegates each researched and prepared resolutions to the issues in their forum; lobbied their ideas with other delegates from around the world, both before and during the conference, online and in person; and formalised and merged their ideas with those of others. They then had to secure the support of more than 15 member nations and debate their resolutions in their forum. With each member nation and international agency present, they worked through amendments and eventually passed their resolutions into international law. The performances of the MCM delegations were truly first rate and our pupils were at the forefront of debate in every Committee and Commission.
Our journey to The Hague also took us to Istanbul, Turkey and to Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. En route to the Netherlands, we paused for a stop-over in Istanbul for one-night. We visited some of the most important cultural sights from history, including the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and the Hagia Sofia, whilst also enjoying some lovely Turkish cuisine along the way. On the Wednesday of the conference week, the agenda occupied a half-day, so in the second half of the day we enjoyed a short trip to Amsterdam, visiting the Van Gogh Museum, the Amsterdam Dungeon and Madame Tussauds. In The Hague we enjoyed evenings of good food and conversation amongst the members of our group.
At the end of our trip we were granted the honour of a reception at the residence of the Ambassador of Malaysia. The Ambassador received us, spoke very candidly with us and provided us with lunch on Saturday, the day after the conference came to an end. This was a truly impressive way to round off what was a spectacular week.
Overall, the trip to THIMUN in The Hague proved an exceptional educational expedition. All members of the MCM team improved their formal writing and speaking skills; learned how to better present themselves professionally; and how to empathetically represent the interests of someone beyond themselves. They worked on their soft skills, such as mediation and facilitation; networked with the leaders of tomorrow, from all over the world; learned a little about the major issues that face our world; and were privileged to see some of that world along the way. The group is very thankful to the College for providing the opportunity to attend and participate in this marvellous experience.
Head of English