WISS Today Article

As a top international school in Shanghai, the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) was proud to participate in this year’s MUN Conference on January 17th, 18th, and 19th.

Did you know that many leaders in law, business, and even politics often once participated in MUN as students?

MUN 2020 brought together students from around the world, giving these future leaders a chance to develop their interest in intercultural affairs, as well as exchange views on current problems.

Without a doubt, MUN is a one of a kind experience. 

WISS students with WISS teachers at MUN conference 2020
WISS students and teachers at MUN Conference 2020

MUN Conference, What Is It?

MUN (Model United Nations) is a simulation of United Nations. This school activity is based on actual United Nations debates with students playing the role of diplomats.

All participants act as real delegates from different countries who work together to solve real problems that affect the world.

Several committees are organized, and the student delegates discuss and defend the views of each represented country. This conference offers a unique experience for students to gain first-hand knowledge of critical international issues through intercultural dialogue while learning the rules and principles of diplomacy.

WISS student at MUN Conference 2020
WISS student attend one of the committees at MUN Conference 2020

One of the conference’s key tasks is for the students to research and learn as much as possible about the country they represent. The WISS participants represented Kenya. While some of our students initially had limited knowledge about this African country, it didn’t take them long to learn all they could in preparation for the debates.

WISS student debating at MUN Conference 2020

Our students shone, demonstrating many skills that included research, analysis, and study of the country, its government, and its laws. This conference gave our students the chance to apply many of the learner profile attributes they have developed as IB students like being good communicators and open-minded global citizens.

WISS student working at MUN Conference 2020
WISS student working at MUN Conference 2020

6 Benefits of the MUN Conference for Students

WISS students at MUN Conference 2020
WISS students in preparation for the debate at MUN Conference 2020
  1. Acquiring a keen awareness of international issues
  2. Building interpersonal skills such as leadership or negotiation 
  3. Understanding the value of teamwork
  4. Improving public speaking skills
  5. Developing empathy to understand the opinions of other people
  6. Making friends from around the world

For Lulu, a Grade 10 WISS student, this was her first time participating in the MUN conference. She confessed that at first, she was a little nervous, but she greatly enjoyed her MUN experience.

Lulu tells us all about her MUN experience and why she would recommend other students to participate.

WISS student at MUN Conference
At MUN Conference 2020

Why did you decide to participate in MUN?

Throughout my years at WISS, I had always heard about MUN during assemblies and morning announcements. Last year was the first year I was able to participate, so out of curiosity, I joined. It seemed complicated, but I was interested in learning about how MUN works and different issues around the world. I found it to be very enjoyable.

What is the most positive thing from this experience?

The most positive thing from this experience was making many new friends, learning about various global issues, and finding out that MUN is a very fun experience.

How does it feel to be a diplomat for a few days?

Acting as a diplomat was very fun, especially with other student diplomats. We all sat in our designated seats, listened to the chairs/delegates speak, and took notes. At times, it felt as if I was a real adult with a job. I enjoyed dressing up for the part and pretending to be serious. Also, I was very impressed by the other delegates who clearly had some experience. They were good at being reliable and helping if needed.

WISS student reviewing her notes at MUN Conference 2020
Reviewing her notes at MUN Conference 2020

What has been the most challenging part of participating in this conference?

The most challenging part of participating in this conference was preparing. To do well, being knowledgeable about specific topics is essential.

Exposing a topic in front of so many people for the first time impresses, right? How did you manage to keep calm and give such an impeccable speech?

Honestly, it was terrifying. I was only able to do it because I checked with others to see if my speech was good enough. I watched other delegates give their speeches and tried to emulate them. Right before I went up, I kept repeating to myself,  “It’s just a speech.” Although I had practiced it many times, I could not look up at the audience. Instead, I just focused on my piece of paper. However, I felt fine once it was over.

What were the sessions prior to the conference like? How did you organize all the work?

The MUN sessions prior to the conference do not prepare you for how fun it will be. I spent a lot of time worrying about the littlest things because I believed that the MUN conference would be terrifying and that I could not make a single mistake. I used my laptop to organize all my work and the information I needed for the conference. 

Is there a country that you would have liked to represent? Why?

I think I’d like to represent any country because all countries have their own policies and history, and I find that interesting to explore. However, if I had to choose, I would probably go with Canada or Ireland, which is where I am from. Since I have never lived in either country, I could learn more about my country and feel more connected.

Find out more about the Distinguishing Programs and leadership opportunities available at WISS.