Model United Nations - Empowering students to lead change | Aga Khan Academies

Model United Nations - Empowering students to lead change

01 March 2023

The remembrance of the MUN conference is as if it were yesterday. The feelings of anxiety and apprehension were overpowered by those of excitement and eagerness. Standing before the podium were smart, diplomatic people with beaming eyes and inquisitive faces.

On the balmy morning of 17 February 2023, a new journey began. After three months of chaos, hassle, and challenge, the three days of the AKA Hyderabad Inter-MUN were finally here. The MUN culture at this Institution is distinctive, bringing in an air of fervor, gusto, and newfound passion for debate and deliberation; but this was somehow different, somehow more special.

As we faced the opening ceremony with jitters and eagerness, the conference was soon declared open by the bang of the gavel, the sound of passion and victory in any MUN.
The first day is always best to pick up on the details, ones in which the delegates slip up, create controversies, and engage in traditional debate. This was nothing short of that; from arguments about LGBTQ rights in the UNHRC to discussions about combating the illicit drug trade in the UNODC, from discussions about non-state actors in Iraq and Syria in the UNSC to exploring the trade of small arms in DISEC, the first day was filled with meaningful debate and insight on every agenda. Their passion was evident in the way they raised their placards with vigor to raise a point, to prove their opposition wrong. It was unlike any other setting.

Our coveted press conference was yet to come; journalists interrogating the delegates, and them remaining diplomatic. These press cons are a testament to the intense research and comprehension of the delegates. The articles produced by the journalists were intended to expose hypocrisies, explain controversies, and above all, remain unbiased.

As the doors of the committees were pounded, it all played out as though it were in slow motion. The flashing lights and the mics came on, heightening the air of enmity and tension. The questions continued to pour, teeth-biting and intense, to put the delegates to the test. These thoughtfully crafted questions really captured the essence of a MUN. What’s a MUN without the good ol’ press con? They are indeed intimidating but as the press cons went on in each of the four committees, the delegates seemed more and more prepared.
The beauty of a MUN lies in the fact that students get to participate in the most pressing issues that concern us today without the barriers of age, culture, or social standing hindering them. It is a forum for free-flowing thoughts and ideas that cultivates young leaders who will make an impact tomorrow.

The experience is unique in that everything seems to come together naturally. The enormous amount of work required to make even the smallest things run well is often overlooked. The event's closing ceremony, which was preceded by the expertly coordinated and much-awaited award presentation, made this evident.

Despite the wins and losses, MUNs open eyes to a world of possibilities, and minds to a myriad of solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

The moments of crisis and conflict, of negotiation and leadership- these are the moments we long for sitting in a boardroom striking a deal, these are the moments that make history.

Written by Haniska Kondapally who led the International Press at last weekend’s Model United Nations