On Dec 12, 2020, ISY students from both Middle and High School attended a virtual Model United Nations Conference, the second-ever Virtual YMUN conference. This conference was different from traditional conferences in that the student leaders wanted to change the focus from highly political issues to social issues that people are likely to be more aware of. Delegates looked at issues surrounding society nowadays, especially those in our local community, and proposed actionable resolutions that people could act upon in 2021. With normal YMUN conferences, the resolutions proposed are usually beyond the scope of the delegates to implement, but this conference was set up so delegates could actively apply the proposed solutions to their daily lives. Just like a regular YMUN conference, each delegate represented a different stakeholder, depending on which issue they were debating.
From 12 to 4pm, delegates were separated into 3 councils: the public welfare council, environmental council, and the animal rights council. The conference followed normal MUN procedure with a traditional opening ceremony, roll call, opening speeches, lobbying and merging, debate, and a closing ceremony. 15-minute breaks were provided throughout to ensure that delegates as well as chairs had enough energy and motivation!
For the delegates debating the issue of Animal welfare, resolutions that were proposed included for organizations like YAS to open more shelters and set up more spraying and neutering stations, for scientific laboratories to abolish animal testing, and for the government to allocate more tax funds towards the plight of animals. Other clauses pertained to actions that every delegate could act upon, such as raising more awareness through social media, volunteering at animal shelters, and recommending people to adopt, not shop.
Especially in the Middle School, there were many new delegates, and the Middle School chairs, Sammy and Crystal, stated that it was truly amazing to see them learn and grow throughout the conference. They stated that although the delegates were timid and shy at first, they soon “became energetic and spoke up strongly about their perspectives, advocating for solutions to the issue at hand and questioning the plausibilities of clauses proposed by others.”
As this was the second virtual YMUN hosted by ISY, delegates noted that they became more accustomed to virtual conventions, such as the alternative method of “raising placards” through Zoom’s Raise Hand function, “passing notes” to the chair by privately messaging them, and conducting voting procedures through reactions on the screen. Yet, there were still many challenges brought up through the virtual medium, including bad internet connections, the inability to thoroughly communicate with a delegate’s allies, and more. Cindy, a delegate, also noted that she didn’t enjoy “how long it was, especially how long it took to go through every single clause in two resolutions before voting on them.” Yet, she also noted that “the MUN Conference was exciting because I got to work with many people I’d never worked with.” Virtual conferences can also take away a lot of the stress and pressure that physical conferences can bring to delegates.
Marco, the Secretary General of this conference and the president of ISY’s MUN club, wrapped up the event by stating that “seeing the passion the delegates had for social issues and their willingness to take responsibility in their communities was reassuring.”
Thank you to all the delegates and teachers who helped make this conference possible!