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.

Creating a Solar Generation

Over the past two years, our community has increasingly focused on ways in which we can become more sustainable, adopting practices that help us reduce consumption, support the environment and conserve resources. This led to the creation of SustainableNIST, a committee comprised of not only faculty, but also students and parents, which has initiated numerous projects to raise awareness within our community and drive change.

This drive to become more conscious global citizens and responsible members of our communities has aligned to the similar evolution of our curriculum, and our service programmes in particular. NIST service groups are student-initiated and student-driven, and they reflect a wide range of interests all joined by a common goal: enriching the lives of others.

One such group, Solar Generation, formed this school year and has already made an impact within a few short months. Their passion for shifting our community to sustainable energy sources has led to the installation of our first solar panels on the roof of our Creative Arts Building. As we begin to track energy savings provided by this, we will further expand the project by donating the equivalent amount of the savings back to the group, hopefully leading our school to be entirely self-sustainable within the coming years.

Learn more about Solar Generation in their own words:

NIST is located in the heart of Bangkok, a diverse community in such a concentrated urban area. In this vast sea of different beliefs and culture, we all share four main values: integrity, caring, community and growth. NIST is an active hub of development and has continually spearheaded projects in different communities. In school, we are educated about issues that undermine global development.

However, as a small group of friends who grew up in a metropolitan environment, we never got to experience these matters firsthand. Last year we visited Knapor, a small rural Cambodian village on the outskirts of Siem Reap. Although it may seem like a Cambodian tourist sight, the citizens of the village currently struggle with access to basic necessities like energy, education and transportation. Our initial intentions were to work on other projects; however, after witnessing the prevalence of these issues, we wanted to take the opportunity to make a difference.

As we thought about how to start an initiative that would lead to global impact, we realized that such large-scale changes are produced over time. Considering that our aspirations resonated with our NIST community values, we decided to instead start working toward urban sustainability in a community closest to us: our school. Our plan was able to raise capital and secure subsidies for 80 PV solar panels. In installing these panels at NIST, we also provide many educational opportunities for students considering study in a related field or are simply interested in sustainability, which may inspire and lead to similar projects in the future.

As pioneers for a sustainable future, we aim to expand our project within our campus and beyond. We have future prospects for transforming the Knapor community, the NIST community and the Bangkok community into a solar driven area. We hope others follow us in working toward a Solar Generation.

Ainesh, Pete, Prize & Punn (Year 13)

NIST Students Take Top Honors at Bangkok Vex Robotics Competition

On Saturday, 4 February the Battle in Bangkok: Starstruck Thailand Vex Robotics Competition was hosted at NIST International School, with teams from NIST, International School Bangkok and Thai-Chinese International School all competing for a place at the world event. The NIST Falcons secured the Excellence Award, qualifying them for the VEX Robotics World Championship, the culminating event of the season, held in April, with the top teams from across the United States and around the world who seek to become world champions.

To prepare for the competition, the NIST team worked together to design and build a robot using VEX EDR that could quickly and efficiently solve specific obstacles and challenges that come with playing the VEX Robotics Competition Starstruck game. Each week, the students apply what they’ve learned about science, technology, engineering and math in order to build the semiautonomous machines. An equally important set of skills is learned through the competition: communication, project management, site management and the importance of composure, as they have to learn how to lose as much as they have to learn how to win.

Jason Tiefel, who coached the NIST teams and organized the event, indicated that the programme is still growing in Thailand, but offers a great deal of appeal to students and builds skills that parallel the principles of the IB programme: “I could not be more proud of the effort and achievement the students displayed. They put in many hours of extra work to prepare, and the competition gave them a goal to strive for that ignited their interest in learning more about robotics. I even had seniors that started the competition, left for exams and college interviews, then came back and finished as tournament champions! As an educator it is amazing to see the students applying their skills of creativity, collaboration, dynamic problem solving, resilience, and strategic thinking in a way that is fun and engaging.”

The Battle in Bangkok: Starstruck Thailand is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. The VEX Robotics Competition is the world’s fastest growing competitive robotics program for middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world, with more than 16,000 teams from 40 countries that participate in more than 1,300 VEX Robotics Competition events worldwide. Building on the newfound success by the NIST Falcons, the event is set to grow even further in Bangkok, and they’re eager to take on new challenges at the world championship.

For more information about the VEX Robotics Competition, visit and

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)

CIS Recognizes NIST Graduate with International Student Award

International-Student-Award-Winner-Chakrapoj-Bos-ChitwannapaThe Council of International Schools, one of the three organizations through which NIST International School is accredited, recognizes a small number of students worldwide each year with the International Student Award. Acknowledging the contributions of those who have “demonstrated a clear commitment to sustained interaction with students of the other nationalities, languages or ethnic backgrounds in a spirit of international understanding and cooperation”, the award encourages students to reach out to others in their communities, identify issues, and initiate creative, sustainable solutions. This year Chakrapoj (Bos) Chitwannapa, a member of the Class of 2014, became one of only a small number of students worldwide to receive the award.

As described on the CIS award page, “Bos travelled to Maeramit Village in Om Goi District as part of a CAS trip where he participated in the preliminary stage of community development. This has helped him gain first-hand experience in learning about development and applying development tools in a rural village environment. Bos did some excellent work facilitating the needs analysis process, and the school was impressed with the leadership he has shown. Bos will continue to work on the project with other NIST students and teachers, as well as with other schools, so as to help form a development project that will benefit the village in a sustainable and beneficial way.”

Congratulations, Bos, and we wish you luck as you leave NIST and begin a new journey in university!

NIST to Host the First Annual Falcon Young Fencer Invitational

Long separated from its origins in duels between young European aristocrats, fencing has since expanded to become an electrifying sport that challenges both the mind and body. Following the success of year 10 student Soravit (Ping Ping) Kitsiriboon, NIST International School is expanding support for the sport as it hosts Thailand’s first Falcon Young Fencer Invitational on Saturday, 24 May 2014. The event, aimed to raise awareness of competitive fencing among youth in the region, is open to teams in four different age groups: under 10, under 12, under 14 and under 17. Running the whole day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the event will take place at NIST’s Sports Complex, where over 100 fencers are expected to take part.

Wiradech-KothnyThe NIST Falcon Fencing Club is the first international school fencing club in Thailand. Having become a member of the Amateur Fencing Association of Thailand (AFAT) in July 2013, it now includes over 30 fencers and has quickly gained recognition for its promising athletes, due in large part to the coaching. Leading the young Falcons is Head Coach Wiradech (Willi) Kothny, a decorated fencing aficionado who holds the distinction of being the only fencing athlete to win medals for two countries: Germany and Thailand.

A three-time Olympian, Kothny earned individual and team bronze medals in sabre fencing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Additionally, he has taken part in numerous other competitions throughout his career, earning a European championship, world championship and other awards. Returning to Thailand in 2002, Kothny began to build the sport in Thailand and revolutionize it through world-class coaching techniques, while continuing to earn medals in the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Fencing Championships.

In June of 2013 Kothny joined NIST as the head coach, aiming to empower the NIST Falcons to compete on the national and international levels. His message to NIST students and others who would like to fence is simple: perseverance and a good education are the keys to achieving one’s goals, both on and off the fencing strip. He further believes that a positive attitude, discipline, respect and honor are traits that fencers should also develop to reach success. With a growing number of promising fencers at NIST and around the country, and the backing of an Olympian, Thailand may soon find more success on the international stage.