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.