Written by: Clara
Edited by: Keitaro
Visual by: Sarah Pr
On October 9 and 10, the Model United Nations (MUN) Locals 2020 Pre-Conference, hosted by BSM, was held virtually via Zoom and Discord. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided that a pre-conference will be held in October as a precursor to the main conference which was pushed back to January 2021. More than 300 delegates from 15 different schools came together for this event. Furthermore, there was a fundraiser tied to the conference which aimed to raise money to help the Philippine Red Cross purchase personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
The main focus of the pre-conference was resolution writing. In their respective committees, delegates had to discuss and collaborate to draft solutions about their respective topics. Discord voice channels were used to lobby, write on documents, and ask chairs for feedback. Kim (BSM), one of the two secretary generals, said “By giving delegates the opportunity to gain feedback from their chairs and multiple months of editing, the resolutions that end up being debated in the main conference will be well-developed, in-depth, and hopefully a repository of our delegates’ best efforts. The standards of these resolutions will be greater which will improve the quality of debate and also make the MUN conference more realistic.”
Other than resolution writing, the conference also focused on debate skills. In 40-minute seminars, the beginner delegates learned the basic details of writing, such as the points and motions they may use during debates. Meanwhile, the more seasoned delegates worked on advancing their skills by analysing the different aspects of good and bad clauses, and examining strategies to cope with certain “unexpected” situations. Towards the end of the conference, practice debate sessions were held. Deputy Chair of the Economic and Social committee (ECOSOC) Tim commented, “The practice debate sessions were very lively and useful to the extent that it got the delegates warmed-up to MUN discussions. It was able to hone delegates’ ability to research, debate and advocate for their countries’ stance on MUN issues.”
This was the first virtual MUN Locals conference. When asked about how the online conference was, Anagha said “of course it wasn’t as lively as an in-person one, but I think it still went really well. As a chair of my committee, it was important for me to keep my delegates engaged because it is easy to get distracted in an online setting. We played icebreakers and games such as Kahoot and Among Us using MUN language, and during the skills workshops, I used the website jamboard to make the activities more fun and interactive, rather than just the chairs presenting slideshows.”
Overall, although this was the first virtual MUN Locals conference, the delegates and leadership team worked very hard to make it a successful and rewarding experience. Hopefully by January, the delegates can meet in person for the main conference.