This isn’t a conference where you can just show up and go with the flow, but one where you have to do plenty of work beforehand, from reading on the topics and writing up your clauses, among other things. For me this began in September where I applied to become a member of the International Court of Justice. I ended up getting selected for this exclusive committee of 11 ‘judges’, where we had to weigh the evidence and give an advisory opinion on “the Legal consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian wall”.
Soon, the weekend came and we departed from school early on Friday morning with Ms Burge and Mr Portier, excited about the weekend ahead. We travelled on the Eurostar train without hiccoughs (thankfully!) and got into Paris safe and sound. However, it wouldn’t be an MUN trip without an outward-bound journey mishap and it happened, when on the metro to the hotel, the line got shut down due to security concerns and we ended up having to walk 30 minutes across Paris to reach our regular hotel, the Ibis Cambronne, which was full of MUN-ers from other schools.
With the UNESCO building undergoing major renovations, for the second time in a row the conference was held at the impressive Maison de la Mutualité in the Latin Quarter. During the opening ceremony, we were entertained by wonderful speeches from the Director of Governing Bodies at UNESCO, Jacques Rao, who shared tips he had learnt with delegates, and from the Secretary General Sara Kamboj, a senior pupil from the American School in Paris, who gave us the questions to think about, “Who am I? What am I going to fight for?”
Then we had a lecture given by Professor Nathan Furr, who changed the way we think of the term INNOVATION and gave us a new way to look at it.
Soon we were sitting in our committee rooms, ready to argue our clauses. Except for the odd break for lunch, the two days went by with lots of intensive debates and arguments as well as a press team event every so often.
By Sunday evening, many of us had been able to successfully push through our clauses in our committees, some of them passing by a large majority.
Monday morning was the General Assembly involving most delegates at the conference, except the Security Council and the International Court of Justice (my committee), who were both still in session. For the third year in a row, Shrewsbury was up first proposing a resolution to the entire General Assembly. After much lobbying from many of us, Max Yale (S UVI) gave a powerful opening speech, which set the tone of the debate afterwards. After much fruitful debate, where many other schools tried and failed to amend our resolution, the resolution passed by 71 to 66 votes. This was the third year in a row where we passed a resolution in General Assembly.
Soon the closing ceremony was sadly upon us. There, awards for commended delegates were given out to: Rhys Trevor (PH UVI) (DR Congo - Human Rights Panel), Max Yale (S UVI) (DR Congo - ECOSOC) and Sam Evans (R III) (Croatia - Environment). It was especially impressive for Sam as he is only just in Third Form; he clearly has a long and successful MUN career ahead of him.
Thereafter, we went to get our bags, said our goodbyes and set off for our return journey to school with lots of fond experiences and memories, as well as lots of new friends and ties made over the weekend. All too soon, we were back at school on Monday evening after what was a very exhausting but memorable experience that many of us will cherish for years to come.
I would like to thank the organising team of PAMUN and Mr Ouriel Reshef, who worked so tirelessly on the conference to make this trip so great for everybody. Special thanks to Ms Burge and Mr Portier for giving up their weekend to take us on this trip to France, and to Mr Peach who despite not being able to make it, had made it all possible by organising this trip in the first place. But most importantly, I would like to thank all the delegates not just from Shrewsbury, but from all the schools who made the journey to Paris this weekend, and made this conference even more worthwhile than I had ever expected it to be, because what is an MUN conference if it is not for the delegates who give it life.
Mill Luangamornlert (SH LVI)