Every year on the 27th of January thousands of passionate students flock to The Hague’s World Forum to partake in the popular International Model United Nations. Debaters have the unique opportunity to take on the roles of UN delegates, discussing prevalent global issues and making concrete resolutions to combat these problems. This year, Marymount students voiced the concerns and opinions of Namibia and Turkey.
Some of the issues debated in the, for example, ECOSOC committee included ‘measures to create job opportunities for refugees’ and ‘removing social barriers that make women vulnerable to HIV and hinder their access to preventative and treatment services’. As this is extremely relevant in our modern-day world, these topics were both necessary and interesting. Delegates came to many creative and realistic solutions, such as developing education to improve negative mindsets, providing a support system, and catering to the socio-economic needs of the represented country.
A THIMUN experience
To be fully honest, before travelling to the Hague for this trip, I was worried. I wondered if I was good enough to participate, as I am not a confident speaker and could not see myself standing in front of so many delegates to voice my concerns and opinions regarding the topics in discussion. These worries followed as I entered the vast room my committee was assigned to. They still did not leave my side until the lobbying started. I was scared that I would say something deemed as ‘unintelligent’ in front of so many delegates whom I looked up to. However, when talking to them I realised that they were merely students like me who just yearned to learn more, to help in providing change within the world; I realised I need not be afraid to speak and form opinions, to learn and grow.
After the first day of lobbying, we all attended the Opening Ceremony. I was sat with my friends in the screening room watching the esteemed President and fellow senior members give their speeches. Despite watching them through a screen, the words spoken by these people were truly powerful in a way that grabbed everyone’s attention firmly in their grasp. The ceremony was beautiful and powerful, a great start to this year’s THIMUN.
The next few days, delegates from all over the world wrote thousands of resolutions put together, stored within a THIMUN app, launched for the first time as a way to save paper that had been used to share resolutions in the past. Delegates wrote, thought, and debated. Debates started on the second day, a large variety of topics were dealt with, all of high importance and relevance to today’s issues. At first, I had trouble keeping up with the formal way in which the delegates spoke. Despite being formal and beautiful, I thought that it sounded exaggerated at first- however, it was a crucial aspect of the experience. After some time, I grew accustomed to it and welcomed it, smiling as I raised my placard to vote for the resolutions being presented.
By the end of the third day, it had all become very familiar to me. The wonderful Chairs and kind Admins really helped everybody settle in well. Since the beginning, I had already felt part of something much bigger and important than myself, but by this time I was beginning to feel like I was part of a family. Debates remained serious, resolutions were constantly either passed or rejected thanks to the hard work of all delegates. However, during break times and lunchtimes the tension eased and friendships grew. In my committee, we danced and chatted and got to know each other better in a way only THIMUN delegates can…
“All in favour of Jamaica dancing to the macarena, raise your placards now.”
Everybody raised their placards.
“Objection!”, called Jamaica.
“Ah. No objections! Jamaica, please take the stage.”
And that’s how ten delegates found themselves dancing to the macarena during lunchtime.
On the fourth day, everybody was asked to vote for a cartoon competition that was being held especially for THIMUN. We were all shown thirteen different cartoons, each one unique and special, created by delegates attending the conference. They all depicted different global issues and were meaningful, relevant and beautiful at the same time. While one focused on the wars happening around the world, another focused on climate change. While one was painted digitally, another was drawn by hand. It was very difficult to choose the “best” cartoon, since each and every one of those had been created with high skill and effectively conveying pressing issues. Nevertheless, all delegates voted, and at the closing ceremony, the winner was announced.
The fifth day brought bittersweet feelings for all those in committees. While everyone celebrated these wonderful days spent in each other’s presence, we all felt like more time was needed and that the week could not have gone by quicker. The final debates happened with bright words and gentle laughs; all committee rooms were graced with smiles and joy, but tinged with drops of nostalgia which was already surfacing.
In the closing ceremony, goodbyes were expressed and tears were shed. If the opening ceremony had been grandiose, the closing ceremony was something else entirely. Everybody’s feelings of thankfulness of having been part of this experience together with the regret of leaving it, painted the room; the whole auditorium was filled with thunderous applause and powerful music as representative delegates carried the flag of their country to the stage.
Looking back at this experience, I can safely say that my initial fears were silly. THIMUN isn’t only a place of speaking and debating, I now realise. It is a place of sharing ideas and collaborating with each other in order to create change. Mugdha Vasishth, a Grade 10 student, stated, “From our daily ‘Dunkin Donut’ runs to our debating sessions, THIMUN was an unforgettable experience. Apart from our constant battles with the cold winds, THIMUN was an enriching educational exchange where we were able to interact with a diverse set of individuals on topics of current relevance.”
Overall, I learned that THIMUN is a place of laughter amidst seriousness.
The delegate thanks all those who participated in this trip and yields the floor back to the Chair.