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TGS students debate good governance at MUNISH 2015

This past weekend, 10 of our students joined 1,000 other political-minded teenagers from around the world in visiting The International School of The Hague to participate in its 25th annual Model United Nations (MUN). As the home of The International Court of Justice, The Hague is a city synonymous with peace and equality, making it the ideal setting for this year’s theme of ‘good governance and cooperation.’ For those unfamiliar with the concept of MUN, imagine a room filled with sharply-dressed, confident teenagers drilling home their points on a variety of political, economic, and social issues, fighting to have their resolutions not only heard, but passed. And at MUN, students represent both sides of the issue: in this weekend’s simulation, for example, 11th grader Ana S. participated in a debate about strengthening women’s rights in North Korea, with several delegates arguing in the same delusional manner exhibited by the DPRK’s leadership.

There are little to NO problems in North Korea. It’s pretty much perfect with or without women. -North Korea delegate

Through debating both sides of the coin, delegates have the opportunity to bolster their negotiating skills while learning about current events firsthand. Each year we attempt to attend at least one Model United Nations, and our MUN club, appropriately nicknamed the “TGS Sharks,” is one of the most popular extracurricular activities that we offer. During the three-day event, our “sharks” were divided up into three different delegations involving five different committees. They were:

Delegation of Czech Republic

  • Chris, delegate of Czech Republic, was a member of the Human Rights Council.
  • Andrew, delegate of the Czech Republic, was a part of the General Assembly Committee on International Security and Disarmament.
  • Danielle, ambassador for the Czech Republic delegation, was a part of the General Assembly Committee on Special Political and Decolonisation.

Delegation of Hungary

  • Sydney, delegate of Hungary, was a member of the Human Rights Council
  • Ana, delegate of Hungary, was a member of the Special Conference Committee on Good Governance.
  • Samtag, delegate of Hungary, was a part of he General Assembly Committee on International Security and Disarmament.
  • Victor, ambassador for Hungary, was a part of the General Assembly Committee on Special Political and Decolonisation.
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Delegation of United Nations Peace Building Commission (UNPBC)

  • Paul, delegate of the UNPBC,  was in a special committee called the Advisory Panel on the Question of the Israel Palestine Conflict
  • River, delegate of the UNPBC, was in a special committee called the Advisory Panel on the Question of the Israel Palestine Conflict
  • Samaya, leader of the UNPBC, was a part of the General Assembly Committee on Special Political and Decolonisation

Topics discussed by the delegates included:

  • Combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
  • Protecting individual rights to privacy in the digital age
  • Securing people’s rights to self determination
  • Determining sovereign rights over the dispute of the South China Sea
  • Abolishment of the death penalty
  • Protecting the universal human rights of immigrants
  • Ensuring the impunity, safety, and freedom of journalism

As in past MUN events, our students were thankful for the opportunity to engage with other forward-thinking teenagers about the world and its issues they will soon inherit. Below you can find a reflection by student body president Sydney M. on her experience as a member of the Human Right’s Council and other media from the event, including videos and a reflection by first year student Krystof Stupka, who joined us from the Czech Republic.

Sydney reflects on her time at MUNISH

Representing Hungary in the Human Rights Committee proved to be, as predicted, fairly challenging. Considering one of the topics was Human Rights of Illegal Migrants, I definitely had a lot to add to the debate; however, most my amendments were received as either ‘radical’ or ‘destructive’. Needless to say, in terms of having my delegation attached to any one resolution or clause was profoundly amusing — especially when persuading one humanitarian group of delegates that in order to fully increase the protection of Human Rights amongst migrants it was essential to increase border patrol in all ways, shapes, and forms. Alas, as I am sure you can see, one point for Hungary, several points to humanitarianism.

All things considered, although the lack of radical ideas were detrimental to Hungary’s goals, I feel as though my committee proved that we are living in a progressively safer world with every generation. In addition to HR of Illegal Migrants, we discussed the Abolishment of the Death Penalty, Religious Diversity, and HR in Guantanamo Bay.

By the end of the three day conference, had all of our resolutions been put into action in real life, the world would have stricter regulations against the death penalty while introducing humane alternatives, increased acknowledgment of religious diversity in worldwide education systems, plans towards the supervision (and ultimately expulsion) of Guantanamo Bay, and (unfortunately for the delegation of Hungary) rules supporting a required quota system for immigration with regulations for retainment and integration centers.

I think that at for the sake of humanity these resolutions show that we are moving towards a safer and more tolerant world. Yet, for the sake of MUN, had each delegate truly represented their country’s stance, it would be clear that these topics are unfortunately not easily addressed in an afternoon.

With this said, I came to this conference planning on trying to impose as many radical ideas (especially in terms of immigration) as humanly possible. In the first hours I was able to convince a few shyer delegates during lobbying, then chatted with the more radical delegates over lunch, and later passed several notes to the more powerful nations; alas, my radical goals were out-weighed by humanitarianism, which is enough to give me just the slightest bit of hope as I leave the conference and go back out into the real world.

An interview with UNPBC delegate River W.

Paul is a shark when it comes to MUN

View this video on THINK Spot

Ana Discusses Austerity

View this video on THINK Spot

Samtag discusses getting his resolution passed

View this video on THINK Spot

Chris reflects on his time at MUNISH

Proper suit, leather shoes -dresses I would kill for if I were a girl- and at the end, people speaking about inclusivity of this event. Dear delegates of Earth: it is time to realize that this is not how the system works at the moment.

After three days of sitting behind a table and a placard bearing the name of the country I represented, I realized how much experiences shape the way we look at education and the way we resolve conflicts.

The 25th annual MUNISH conference was a perfectly organized event led by a group of young individuals promoting the importance of good governance and cooperation. Yet, when we look back at it, how was this goal fulfilled, especially considering the work done behind the doors of the Human Rights Committee?

Personally, I believe that the main problem, especially within the Human Rights Committee, was that the quantity of the delegates was more important than their quality. Thus, many situations where delegates were not properly representing their countries’ opinions occurred. This was especially true for the reason that in the HRC controversial topics are often to be discussed in which the delegates usually have their own ideas about; topics which controversy is making it challenging for the UN to decide.

At this particular moment I realized how TGS is great and how its so-called “peace mission” actually works. Out of the 100 delegates of the HCR, just a few were able to efficiently solve a conflict or deeply answer a point. Those few were the TGS students, students from the United World College, and students that have spent their lives having different places to be native and local in. This minority of people in the room was constructively able to address all the issues that has been discussed and advised the others what to do (at the end of the day, all the good resolutions have passed).

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Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

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