Over the last few years, Model UN has spread like wildfire in educational institutions all over India. It has become one of the most dynamic and preferred co-curricular activities for students and institutions alike. Stepping into formal attire in the morning and meeting people from various schools for a siesta from usual humdrum of school life, has students clamoring to be a part of this activity. However, it is also home to those individuals who love to question, to argue, to debate, and to compete with each other to achieve a standard of excellence in all these skill sets. It fosters learning across the spectrum of stakeholders, whether you are an organiser and learning database management, or an International Press Member writing articles and editorials on committee proceedings and the agendas being discussed.
At G.D.Goenka International Model United Nations 2016, there was a slightly different atmosphere than the usual. All of the above were abundant, yet what was also added was a concept of Model UN for learning. Gathering courage born out of experience of having organised three previous editions, we decided to do what we are best at, and take the first step when no one is willing to. Our fourth edition was geared towards the improvement and benefit of students, both first timers and experienced alike, envisioned ten committees and agendas revolving around the central theme, ‘conflict’. We are surrounded by conflicts, complex issues that are sprouting up everywhere in the world, conflicts over resources to conflict of ideas, conflict between religions and conflict underneath the tip of the iceberg that is usually debated in a Model UN. For the first time, we hosted eight double delegations in the first simulation of the Supreme Court of India, giving a taste of the Indian Judiciary to our participants. At the same time, we had students representing teams and players of Formula 1, debating ethics and the International Sporting Code in the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. Action oriented and intense were the two Cabinet Meets – the George Bush Cabinet right after 9/11, and the Indian War Cabinet planning Operation Meghdoot to control the Siachen Glacier in 1984.
Three days, many sessions of debate, hundreds of speeches and thousands of chits later, the entire event culminated in what was an emotional moment for all its participants. It is our belief that it is not just a competition, but it is also a place to learn, to improve, and come what may, to build upon your strengths and cement the foundations. For this very reason, the Executive Board invested the last hour of session in every committee, towards giving detailed and substantive feedback to all the delegates. When it all came to a close at the Manekshaw Centre, and I stood at the Podium looking at the faces of those who had become our friends in these three short days, I saw them sitting thoughtfully and quietly. They were ready to listen, they were ready to understand, and they were ready to learn. Our vision had been realised.
– Sidharth Das, Senior Advisor, GDGIMUN 2016