Model United Nations: Closing the Gap

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“We must do everything we can to close the gap between the world as it is, and the world as it should be. That is the mission of the United Nations. It’s time we work together to make this world better for all, where everybody can live with dignity and prosperity.”

On 10 October 2015, NIST International School hosted the 23rd annual Bangkok Model United Nations conference, and these were the words spoken by Nikhil Goyal, the Secretary General, before officially opening the event. With over 350 participants from 18 international schools from the greater Bangkok area, students arrived at NIST on a Saturday morning, ready to tackle the world’s most pressing issues with enthusiasm and drive.

Taking the Secretary General’s words to heart, students worked closely together to negotiate and author resolutions that address prominent global issues of the 21st century. Playing the role of delegates, students debated for their represented nation’s interests, emulating the United Nations protocol on debate and resolutions. The delegates researched, prepared, and discussed a wide range of issues, from the problem of transnational drug trafficking to the issue of the economic and socio-political inclusion of women, and collaborated to offer lasting solutions to today’s most profound issues.

The NIST delegation consisted of 56 students from Years 9 through 13 and was extremely successful throughout the conference. Weeks of preparation during our NIST MUN meetings paid off as our delegates participated and contributed at the highest levels of diplomacy and debate revealing the exceptional quality of the NIST Model United Nations programme. Four delegation members achieved the distinguished status of “Best Delegate” in their committees, including Ping Ping (Soravit) Kitsiriboon, representing Libya in the Disarmament and International Security Committee 2; Alessandro Prugel, representing Venezuela in Security Council 2; Hithalli Chawla, representing Brazil in Economic and Social Council 1; and Mitthi (Chirayu) Jain, representing Ireland in Human Rights Council 3.

Whether it was their first or tenth MUN conference, students finished the day with a true sense of accomplishment and pride. Having thoroughly debated pertinent global issues, we all left the conference feeling smarter, more confident and better prepared to suggest informed solutions to the problems of today. The conference was only possible with the support and guidance of our MUN advisors, Mr. & Mrs. Erik and Robin Wilensky, along with a dedicated MUN student leadership team, 36 exceptional administrative staff volunteers and the wide-ranging assistance of our beloved NIST support personnel from a variety of departments around the campus. Ultimately, our genuine collaboration made this an authentic learning opportunity for all student participants and an organized and successful conference.

– Kengo Shigeta

“MUN was an extremely fun and interactive experience. We debated on a variety of important issues, and I was able to meet new people from schools all around Bangkok. The debate was a patchwork quilt of engaging discussion, dotted here and there with borrowed Miley Cyrus song lyrics. Plus, to top it all off, the raspberry pancakes provided at the conference were to die for!”

Aashna Kammila, Year 9

“The immense caliber of the delegates around me really shook me up at first. However, after the first speech I realized that the chairs were really there to help boost our confidence, and that the other delegates were just as nervous as I was. I worked through my frightened phase, authored a resolution that was passed by the majority, and by the end of the conference, I gained the confidence to give speeches and become open to any and all points of information.”

Hithalli Chawla, Best Delegate award recipient

“My first Bangkok MUN conference was a great experience. It was challenging, and I was nervous, but at the end I had a great day. From making my first amendment all the way to meeting some very interesting people, I took risks and really enjoyed my time at the conference. The weekly meetings to prepare for the debate and learning about global issues were great, and led to a wonderful conference. I am proud of what I accomplished, and I look forward to going to more conferences in the future.”

Ankita Brahmachari, Year 10 – first year participant

“This conference was an experience like nothing else. In our committee, we discussed several important global issues in front an entire room full of people, and the passion and enthusiasm I saw during debate was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The people in that room were of different ethnicities, gender, and age, but I felt that there was one thing that joined everyone in that room: the hope of a better and more peaceful future. Overall this MUN experience was very educational and extremely fun. After this experience I can’t wait to attend the next conference!”

Alexander Templeton, Year 9

NIST MUN Student Leaders

Nikhil Goyal – Secretary General

Hannah Cooper – Deputy Secretary General

Kengo Shigeta – Parliamentarian

Mihir Patel – Vice President of the International Court of Justice

Adele Birkenes – Chair of Security Council 1

Paul Keen – Chair of Economic and Social Council 1

Vaibhaw Ladha – Chair of Disarmament and International Security Committee 2

Varun Subramaniam – Chair of Human Rights Council 1

Bek (Theeranai) Charaschanya – Chair of Special Political Committee 2