by: Norielle Eco || Photo Credit: Philippine Science High School System
“Students? Discussing international political issues? What do they know? They’re just kids!”
Well, the goal of Model United Nations (MUN) is to help the students develop a deeper understanding of the world’s most pressing problems by letting them engage in research-based discussions.
As an educational simulation of the United Nations, MUN allows students to discuss and come up with meaningful solutions for current international issues and, at the same time, hone their skills in research, critical thinking, public speaking, and leadership.
This year, the Philippine Science High School System hosted the Model United Nations Youth Summit (PMUNYS) for the second time. Similar to the previous year, students from different PSHS campuses gathered virtually for the event. The three-day summit was held through Zoom from April 20-22, 2022.
When asked about how the preparations went for the summit, Mr. Emman Patata, a coach and now EVC’s MUN coordinator and Technical Working Group (TWG) member, said that compared to last year, there were improvements in how they prepared for the event.
“This time we really learned how to do the MUN the right way. The TWG really went into training with an RP from Singapore to do things right this time,” he shared.
However, despite the changes, it was still not a smooth ride for them.
“It’s really challenging to teach students how to do the MUN because we have to do it virtually,” Mr. Patata added. “But I guess the good thing now is na-institutionalize ang MUN program ng PSHS system through the MUN club.” [But I guess the good thing now is that the MUN program of the PSHS system has been institutionalized through the MUN club.]
Together with Mr. Patata, a total of 18 students and four coaches represented EVC in the PMUNYS 2022.
The participants spent the first two days of the summit attending simultaneous committee sessions where they tackled subtopics that align with this year’s main theme: Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – “Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Eight students from Grades 9-11 were chosen as delegates and grouped into pairs to represent four countries, each belonging to a different UN committee.
|Alchris Marie D. Ceballos|
Joshua Christopher P. Capada
|Grand Duchy of Luxembourg||United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)||Ms. Noemi A. Agner|
|Poimen Deb H. Agnila|
Zenas Praise H. Agnila
|Cooperative Republic of Guyana||United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)||Ms. Camille Alvarez|
|Kyle Matthew B. Balasanos|
Honey Precious Claire M. Yao
|Federal Republic of Somalia||The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)||Ms. Gina Cañete|
|Ma. Hannah Ninna C. Saliganan|
Kyrus Mathew A. Pampanga
|Swiss Confederation||United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)||Mr. Bong Ablay|
As delegates, they were expected to research beforehand their countries’ policies and involvements regarding the topic. A position paper containing the data that they have gathered, along with a proposed action plan, were to be submitted before the conference. In the summit, the delegates had to study these proposals and discuss them extensively during the debate.
Eight other participants, namely Aine Latoja, Crishelle Yu, Katharine Manalo, Kyle Abello, Lorenne Limsiaco, Margarette Nunez, Tiffany Afable, and Vince Boonyarat, served as observers. They were expected to watch how the simulations work and learn from the delegates. Additionally, a select number of the observers were required to present a cultural presentation of their assigned country, the Republic of Korea, during the Youth Delegates Socials program on the first day.
The remaining two students were part of the DAIS for the UN Women committee. Vehuel John Bateo was the Rapporteur and Ruan Tady Baillo served as the Secretary. Prior to the event, the DAIS were trained to lead the committee and moderate the progression of the sessions.
As someone with previous MUN experience, Baillo shared how this year’s experience differed from his first one.
He recalled how he started as a delegate of a small intercampus MUN enrichment program where the training was rushed, and how they ended up just ‘joking around’ on the actual simulations—a huge contrast to being a DAIS this year with a much bigger and more serious responsibility.
“It was really different [being a DAIS] compared to being a delegate,” he stated.
“It was initially scary during PMUNYS 2022. I was secretary so I was in charge of analyzing all the delegates. I had to look at all of them and note down what they did, said, body language, and how they were as a delegate. At some point, the nerves wore down. We did what we had to do, and it wasn’t as bad as we thought.”
It was during the last day when the General Assembly for the presentation of resolutions was held and was followed by the Closing and Awarding Ceremony. The participants did not fail to make EVC proud as they bagged multiple awards.
Representatives from the UDNP Committee, Capada and Ceballos, were given the Best Position Paper Award and Honorable Mention for Best Presenters.
When asked about how he felt about winning Best Position Paper together with his partner Ceballos, Capada shared, “Personally, I didn’t expect that we would win. It was my first time participating in a MUN conference, and to represent EVC in a systemwide event for your first was a daunting task for me. So, when we were announced as winners, I was honestly surprised, but ultimately, I was happy because the payoff was more than enough in exchange for the time and effort that we have exerted into this event.”
From the UNESCO committee, the twins Agnila, P. and Agnila, Z. also bagged two awards as they received Honorable Mention for Best Position Paper & Honorable Mention for Best Presenters.
Yao and Balasanos from the UN Women committee also received the Honorable Mention for Best Position Paper.
Aside from that, our talented observers were also awarded Honorable Mention for Cultural Presentation.
Indeed, MUN not only hones the diplomatic, leadership, and public speaking skills of participants but it also teaches them to value inclusive and research-based solutions.
As scholars, it is important that as early as now, individuals engage in these kinds of activities and expose themselves to issues that affect their community and the world since as they say, the children are the nation’s future leaders.