NIST Hosts Inaugural Middle School MUN Event

On 11 May 2019, NIST hosted its first-ever NIST Middle School Model United Nations (MUN) Conference. Participating delegates came from NIST, as well as Hua Hin International School and NIVA International School, two other institutions in Thailand. The conference was a wonderful experience for middle school delegates taking their first leap into the world of MUN, providing a comfortable and engaging environment for new participants to collaborate, learn and grow in an official conference setting.  

The first annual NIST Middle School MUN began with the opening ceremony, where the secretariat, Isha Banerjee (Y10), Kanav Patel (Y11), Amelia Mackenzie (Y10) and Avan Fata (Y11) formally opened the conference. Delegates were treated to an inspiring speech by Secretary General Kenshin Ueoka (Y11), who spoke on the joys of participating in MUN, and the drive exhibited by the youth hoping to tackle some of the most alarming challenges of today. After the Secretary General speech the formal gavel ceremony began, where the dedicated chairing teams were presented with their conference gavels. For this year’s conference, the chairing teams comprised experienced NIST students, with four chairs presiding over each committee room. The conference’s chairs–Ameya Agrawal, Jaskeerat Thakral, Abhishek Agarwal, Soroush Saleh, Grace Gambrill, Shivam Kogar, Natalie Khaoroptam and Arjun Chawla–worked tirelessly throughout the day to ensure delegates were getting the support needed for success.

After the opening ceremony, delegates were taken to their committee rooms to begin a full day of engaging debate. Over the course of the conference, they sparred on a variety of issues within the two committees, ranging from the question of eliminating discrimination against the LBTQ+ community to the regulation of oil production in highly polluting nations. Throughout the day, debate remained at a high level, with delegates participating in dynamic discussions, lobbying to form strategic alliances and constructing comprehensive resolutions to tackle some of the toughest issues encountered on the global stage. It was clear to see growth in many of the conference’s first-time delegates, who were able to participate actively in debating complex issues and provide well-researched and effective solutions for the topics discussed. This sentiment was voiced by the conference’s Secretary General, who stated, “There is no better opportunity for skill development for the next generation of MUNers than middle school MUN. This first NIST Middle School MUN Conference sets a solid foundation of experience for our middle school delegates, allowing them to grow effectively.”

As the conference drew to a close, delegates finalized and passed resolutions, and the conference wrapped up with the closing ceremony. Awards were presented to the most outstanding delegates and chairs, who truly surpassed expectations in elevating the standard of debate and encouraging their delegates to perform to the best of their abilities. Both best delegate awards were received by NIST delegates, Aditi Bhandari (Environmental Committee) and Mansimar Thakral (Human Rights Council), for their excellent performance and contribution to the success of the committee. The decision to select the recipient of the Best Chair award was extremely difficult, and in the end two recipients were selected for their phenomenal performance throughout the conference in encouraging delegates, and maintaining the smooth operation of their committee rooms. This honor was awarded to NIST Chairs Grace Gambrill and Arjun Chawla.

All in all, the first ever NIST Middle School MUN conference was a huge success, with many delegates providing positive feedback on their experience. One delegate in particular talked about his increased enthusiasm for the Model United Nations as a result of the conference: “I wasn’t that enthusiastic starting MUN, but I started to enjoy it and I made a lot of new friends in the process.” The success of this conference wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of the dedicated MUN advisors, Melanie Kathleen and Alex Trotter, as well as with the support of NIST MUN President Aashna Kammila. In addition, special thanks goes out to the NIST staff, Community Relations & Services Department and Property Department for ensuring that the conference ran seamlessly, as well as the admin staff and chairs who took time out of their busy schedules to make this event possible.

NIST Hosts 26th Annual Bangkok MUN Conference

On Sunday, 7 October, 21 schools and 375 delegates from Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin united during the 26th annual Bangkok Model United Nations (MUN) Conference to discuss, debate and resolve some of the world’s most pressing issues. Led by NIST student leaders, delegates converged in the Tantipipatpong Theatre to be inspired by year 13 Secretary General Ankita Brahmachari’s opening keynote address, which was live streamed on the NIST Facebook page.

The address was followed by the formal gavel ceremony, where Parliamentarians Arisht Hadpawat (Year 12) and Aashna Kammila (Year 12) presented 26 chairs from nine different international schools their official Bangkok Model United Nations chair gavel. NIST student chair’s included year 13 students Nethra Swamy (Security Council 1), Kusuma Gosala (Security Council 2), Anit Kapoor (NATO), Sharang Sharma (ECOSOC 1) and Liam Hall (HRC 3), as well as year 11 student Kenshin Ueoka (DISEC 1). Deputy Secretary General Anushka Bhandari (Year 13) was Master of Ceremonies, while Deputy Secretary General Solveig Furberg (Year 13) led the 35-strong NIST student volunteer paging staff members who ensured a smooth running conference.

After the opening ceremony, students proceeded to their committee rooms for role call, opening speeches and the lobby and merge process. During lobbying students forged their collaborative and consensus building skills while authoring resolutions which were debated in committee. Lobby and merge was followed by lively committee debates where students honed their diplomatic skills and practiced the nuances of parliamentary procedure. Fascinating issues such as “The question of addressing the militarization of the South China Sea”, “The question of privacy in the digital age” and “The question of measures to control hyperinflation in developing countries,” amongst others, were passionately debated. More than 20 resolutions passed in committee and students enjoyed learning in this authentic, highly motivating environment, making the event a resounding success.

The day went by quickly, and the closing ceremonies confirmed the strength of our 60+ delegate NIST MUN programme. Eight NIST students were recognized for their exemplary performance, earning Best Advocate, Best Delegate and Best Chair awards. Year 12 students Minseung Kang and Alexander Templeton were awarded Best Advocates in the International Court of Justice. Year 13 student Kusuma Gosala was awarded an honorable mention as Best Chair. Year 13 students Samantha Atherton (China) and Madison Mackenzie (Germany) were awarded Best Delegate in ECOSOC 2 and HRC 1 respectively. Finally, year 10 students Isha Banerjee (Saudi Arabia), Chikki (Arundhati) Iyer (Bulgaria) and Amelia Mackenzie (Venezuela)  were awarded Best Delegate in HRC 2, SPECPOL 1 and HRC 3 respectively.

A learning opportunity and conference like this would not have been possible without the incredible support from a variety of NIST departments and personnel. Special thanks to Khun Nirut, Mr. Penny and Mr. Coskinas for their support on behalf of the NIST MUN students. In addition, special thanks to Khun Amy, Memo Tejapaibul and the Thai music group for performing the King’s Anthem and Safi Badiane (Year 12), Doogi Suh (Year 12), Jason Jolink (Year 13) and Quentin Geoffroy (Year 11) for their incredible performance of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” during the closing ceremonies.


Empowering Youth through Model United Nations

“IASAS Model United Nations’ mission is to bring people of various backgrounds together in order to help come up with diplomatic solutions, promote peace and develop a strong understanding of what it means to work with those who have different perspectives.”

– Co-Secretaries General of IASAS MUN 2016

On Tuesday, 8 November, NIST students embarked on a trip to attend the prestigious IASAS Model United Nations (MUN) Conference, hosted by Taipei American School (TAS). The NIST MUN delegation, comprised of 10 exceptionally experienced students from Years 12 and 13, represented a wide range of countries such as Malaysia and the Republic of Macedonia during the three-day conference.

With the conference theme of “Empowering the Youth”, the first day of debate started with Dr. Sharon Hennessy, the TAS Head of School, calling all students to “step up and solve the complex issues that are going to be debated at this year’s conference”. Followed by a powerful and enlightening cultural performance by one of Taiwan’s indigenous youth dance groups, the event began with a vibrant and energetic atmosphere among the students, representing 19 distinguished schools from all around Asia,

The conference held several nuances that made the event distinctive, the most notable of these being the involvement of Taiwanese culture in our delegates’ debate. Throughout the conference, the ingenious dance group from Taiwanese tribal group, Amese, held Q&A sessions with our international school students, where our delegates were introduced to the perspectives of the unique culture of the Amese people and the struggles they face in a globalizing world. The real-world connections derived from these sessions added a depth to our discourse, and further enriched the level and relevance of debate.

The NIST MUN team also played key leadership roles throughout the conference, with three of our very own facilitating and driving committee rooms towards fruitful debate. Mihir Patel, Class of 2017, took on an integral management position as the President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), presiding over a room of 12 advocates and judges throughout the course of the conference. Furthermore, two students from the Class of 2018, Alessandro Prugel and Varun Subramaniam, also respectively spearheaded the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) and the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) as Deputy Chairs of Committee.

Overall, IASAS 2016 was arguably one of the most successful conferences that NIST has recently attended. Our delegates passionately debated every issue that came their way, and their efforts culminated in the recognition of excellence by the conference leadership team. At this high-level conference, two of our delegates, Claire Gerrand (Special Political Committee- SPECPOL) and Kengo Shigeta (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative – APEC), received the distinguished Best Delegate award, an honor only achieved by nine of the 222 student attendees at this year’s IASAS MUN. A special thank you to our wonderful advisors, Mrs. Robin Wilensky and Mr. Paul Pickering, for their support and guidance in making this trip a successful and memorable one. The students of the NIST delegation came to a consensus that, without a doubt, this conference has been an extraordinary and impactful experience to us all.

– Kengo Shigeta (Class of 2017)

NIST Students Tackle Global Issues at 20th Annual MUN

On Thursday, 3 March NIST International School traveled to Singapore to participate in the 20th annual SEASAC Model United Nations conference, hosted by Tanglin Trust School. NIST was one of ten schools from seven Asian nations to participate in this conference, where 200 international school students ranging from years 10 through 13 spent the weekend debating the world’s most vital and pressing issues.

Welcomed by the performances of numerous talented musicians at Tanglin Trust School, the NIST delegation started committee sessions on 4 March with excitement and drive. Partaking in nine different committees to debate 26 prominent global issues, our students represented four countries on a wide range of topics such as the question of tackling youth unemployment, the issue of addressing drug trafficking, and even on the discussion of United Nations reforms.

NIST students took a prominent leadership role in this year’s conference. Two of our students, Paul Keen (Class of 2018) and Mihir Patel (Class of 2017), took the main management role as Head Chairs of the ASEAN Committee and the International Court of Justice respectively. In addition to our Head Chairs, Alessandro Prügel (Class of 2018), Harshita Mahendra (Class of 2017), and Erdong Chen (Class of 2017) took leadership roles in the conference, with roles as Co-Chairs in the Human Rights Council and the Economic and Social Council.

At the end of the three-day event, NIST’s 20-strong delegation, led by Mrs. Robin Wilensky and Mr. Paul Pickering, emerged as one of the strongest at the conference. Delegates were ardent in submitting resolutions, offering amendments, and raising their placards to ask points of information, and their performance did not go unnoticed. Varun Subramaniam (Class of 2018) won the best delegate award for the GA6 Legal Committee, Shreyans Sethi (Class of 2018) won the best delegate award for the Economic and Social Council, and Hithalli Chawla (Class of 2017) won the Most Improved Delegate award in the Disarmament and International Security Committee.

This year’s SEASAC Model United Nations trip was an outstanding success; all of our delegates were able to contribute towards fruitful debate, and we came out of the conference more practiced, more aware, and able to better discuss the global issues that surround us today. All of the students found the trip to be both extremely educational and valuable experience, as well as a truly fun event to socialize and connect with students from all around Asia.

– Kengo Shigeta (Class of 2017)

Model United Nations: Closing the Gap

“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

From NIST to the Halls of the UN

During the February holidays, many were at beaches, exotic countries or back home with their families. While others relaxed and sunbathed, 22 students from the NIST Model United Nations (MUN) team were working hard, preparing speeches and writing resolutions in anticipation of the three-day SEASAC Model United Nations conference from the 27th of February. Students from almost a dozen international schools around the region came together to debate real-life issues while taking upon the perspective of the countries they represented at the United World College of South East Asia East Campus.

We worked hand-in-hand to debate global issues, and created the best possible resolutions to address the most pressing, contentious topics in our world. Unlike some other Model United Nations events that I have attended, the 2015 SEASAC MUN  was an amazing conference, and students and teachers alike witnessed high-level, lively debate throughout.

Our delegation consisted of students from Years 10 through 12, with MUN experience ranging from just a few conferences to as many as nine. This conference was a unique and valuable experience for all of us. As one of the more experienced delegates, I learned to lead and drive the debate within my committee (the Security Council), as well as assist others.

Yana Charoenboonvivat, a second-year MUN participant who was a member of the challenging “International Court of Justice” committee, said, “Before participating, I was always afraid of voicing my opinions in public. My attitude towards public speaking changed once I attended SEASAC MUN. I was placed in a committee where I was obligated to speak and soon gained my confidence.”

A first-year MUN participant, Kohei Hayakawa said, “As a delegate with only two conferences under my belt, I was first intimidated by the atmosphere and the seriousness. But as the conference got underway, I realized that anyone who wanted to debate was welcome, and I was able to step up and go to the podium, where I was able to gradually learn how to debate effectively.”

Overall, not only was SEASAC Model United Nations a great learning experience for all, it was also lots of fun, and was a great way to spend the February break. Thanks to our amazing supervisors, Simon Scoones and Zoe Perry, we were one of the strongest delegations at the conference, and ultimately made this a truly successful trip.

– Kengo Shigeta