Last week fifteen Carthusians flew to The Netherlands to take part in THIMUN (The Hague International Model United Nations) conference, a five-day simulation of the United Nations for secondary school students. The competition takes place at the end of January every year in the World Forum Convention Center and attracts over 3500 students and teachers from 200 different schools located as far apart as Norway and China! Students typically assume the role of one of the delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees in a series of debates. Our Carthusians represented Rwanda at the conference.
Such a huge event inevitably calls for a great deal of preparation, as stressed by Limaro Nyam, one of our representatives, “Before the trip we had to write position papers and resolutions on the issues up for debate. Position papers are short essays explaining your country’s stance on an issue, and are good so you know how to vote and can keep up in debates. Resolutions are more substantial essays that offer solutions to the problems, and so those require a lot of research and effort to get right.” MUN encourages a large degree of independent research, which is just what participants were pushed to do. In fact, Amal Malik tells us, “it was a lot to do in a short span of time!”.
When asked about her favorite part of the trip, Arina Bulantseva replies with, “meeting new people from all around the world and being able to make new friends”. Being such an international affair, THIMUN allowed students to gain a wider perspective not only on the UN, but also on global issues as a whole. Limaro tells us how, “We got to make speeches in the World Forum, meet Ambassadors and watch a trial at the ICC. The Hague also has the loveliest coffee shops; the city has such a calm atmosphere.”
However despite the genuine excitement of taking part in such an iconic event, the experience also proved to be quite challenging for those taking part. Amal tells The Oak, “the initial fear and nerves of speaking in front of everyone was difficult” and as with any debate, Arina stressed that, “during the actual conference, it was getting recognised to speak which was the most difficult – everyone wanted to speak, so you had to go out of your way in order to get picked.”
Despite these challenges, though, the trip proved to be an overwhelmingly positive experience. All the participants came back bursting with memories of the unique and unforgettable event they had just participated in. When asked about advice for next year’s cohort, Arina tells us, “don’t be scared of the amount of work you’re meant to put into this and sign up for THIMUN, because you definitely won’t regret it.” So for those of you thinking of taking part in next year’s conference, get ready for a dynamic, once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Ayla Ahmed (F,2Ys)