Several Grade 11 boys were involved in this weekend’s Model United Nations (MUN) session on campus.
Model UN is a popular activity for those interested in learning more about how the UN operates. Hundreds of thousands of students worldwide take part every year at all educational levels. Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts – including at the UN itself – participated in Model UN as students.
The United Nations MUN Programme aims to build and maintain strong links between the UN and MUN participants across the globe. It does that through guides and workshops, which teach students how to make their simulations more accurate; by visiting Model UN conferences and sharing firsthand knowledge of what the actual UN is like; and through encouraging Model UN clubs to take real action to support UN values and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In particular, some of the discussions at this weekend’s event surrounded globalization and internationalization, mostly through the lens of various transnational organizations, all represented by SMUS students.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan, and ask him a few questions about his experience at MUN.
Mr. Fryer: Hi Ryan, thanks for chatting with me and congrats on, what sounds like, a successful conference this weekend! Can you tell me a little bit about your role this weekend?
Ryan: Yes, thanks for having me here. The conference itself was comprised of three committees: Dylan (from Bolton) – was the Director for the World Health Organization (WHO), Fa – was the Director of the UN Human Rights Council, and I ran the Ad Hoc Committee as a Director. That role was a little bit different and including things like arranging conference materials, conference background guides ahead of time, as well as directing the flow of debate. The conference this weekend surrounded a fake scenario surrounding a horrific bombing at JFK airport. My role as director was to lead many delegates, representing the United States, to help resolve this issue.
Mr. Fryer: Wow! That sounds like a lot of work went into this. Have you been preparing for awhile?
Ryan: Two other SMUS students approached me at the start of January, and recommended to me that I apply as director for the conference as I have done MUN prior to this one. Ever since January, I have been working with my team to write two very lengthy documents: the committee introduction (which was 14 pages), and the General Briefing paper which was a document given to delegates the day of the conference which laid out everybody’s roles. The night before the event, I even chatted with SMUS Grad and Bolton Brother Logan who stepped in last-minute giving me pointers until 4 am!!
Mr. Fryer: Wow! Great to hear about the Bolton support! Congrats on your role, Ryan. That sounds like quite the experience. Is this your first time in a leadership role at MUN like this?
Ryan: Definitely first time in this role. I’ve been a delegate in other conferences like the Vancouver MUN but this is the first time in a director role, yes. I felt very lucky to be in this role at the first-ever SMUS hosted MUN.
Mr. Fryer: That’s right! This is the first time SMUS has hosting a Model UN. How was that experience?
Ryan: I’d say it completely exceeded my expectations. My biggest concern was that there was some inexperience with MUN (including me in a director role), but everybody played a part and did a fantastic job, including some of the Grade 8’s from SMUS.
Mr. Fryer: Wow, that’s great to hear! Can I ask, what was the most challenging moment was this weekend?
Ryan: The most challenging was laying out the world of MUN to all of the delegates – there was a lot of complexity including formal language to be used. Also, it took a lot of time and effort to comprehend what was happening around me during the weekend – it was challenging but it was also so much fun!
Mr. Fryer: There must have been such rich discussion all weekend. So, did the Model situation at JFK airport get resolved by all the committees in the end?
Ryan: In the end they did. Some committees closed borders, and all flights were grounded, and the CIA delegation worked hard to conclude the problem using intelligence in the air force. Throughout the whole thing, I think people spent a lot of money, so that is an important consideration – the economics of it all!
Mr. Fryer: Yes, very complex. Any other thoughts? What was your biggest take away?
Ryan: Definitely that, to whoever is reading the blog, that politics is is all around us. MUN sparked a passion in me that I didn’t know was there. I have become more attentive and active in the political community. Whoever is reading this, give MUN a shot! I also want to give a shout-out to all the other Bolton boys who played a part this weekend: Dylan, Kevin, Junya, Eric X., Josh, Louis, Kevin, Richard and Roberto! It was almost 1/3 of the house involved and took a team.
Mr. Fryer: Congrats to all of you and enjoy the well-deserved rest!
Onwards to Term 5!