An IMU final year psychology student was recently selected as the deputy chair at the Nanyang Technological University Model United Nations (NTUMUN) Conference held from the 17 to 19 March 2023 at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This event attracted over 200 participants from 30 countries all around the world.
I am Irene Sandra Fabian and I was one of the 3 students selected to chair the United Nations Women (UNW) council. The selection process involved submitting an online application, going through an interview, and attending various training sessions to familiarise international chairs with the Rules of Procedure for NTUMUN.
Prior to the event, chairs were also given an opportunity to engage in the Global Connect webinar series, which was an online fireside chat with experts such as the Singaporean Minister of Environment and Sustainability and the president of United Women Singapore on topics that were to be discussed at the conference.
The most challenging part of being a chair was preparing the study guide, also known as a research report for the delegates. This 30–60-page document typically consists of background information, key contentions, and in-depth policy analysis of global issues. The topic for United Nations Women were “Reproductive Rights and Access to Healthcare in the South Asian Region” and “Bridging the Gender Gap in Digital Literacy Through Improved Access to ICT in Africa and Middle East”. This required reading through news articles, op-eds, journal articles, and NGO reports. Reading through academic material in the fields of international relations and public policy helped supplement my knowledge of research methods and journal articles by applying similar concepts in a completely different field. Our study guide was completed two months before the date of the conference.
On the first day of the conference, we finally had the opportunity to meet one another physically in Singapore. My fellow chairs, Gianina Edella and Sania Shah were from the Indonesian and Singaporean circuits respectively. We had the opportunity to meet and discuss how we would conduct the event and our expectations for the delegates.
As it was my first time chairing in Singapore, I did not know what to expect. Our council had students as young as 14 and as old as 25, yet what surprised me was the council’s constant activity. First time MUN-ers were willing to constantly speak, submit proposals, and lead the discussion on addressing the issue. At the end of the conference, there was a delegate who cried saying she would love to go for more conferences because she found this experience enjoyable, which was a touching moment for me personally.
I believe Model United Nations is an excellent platform for the youth to learn about real world issues, international relations, and policymaking. I believe in addition to honing our soft skills, MUN teaches us how to research rapidly and effectively, which can be applied to other aspects of academic life such as doing assignments. I believe this conference was an incredible opportunity and I am grateful to IMU for giving me the opportunity to represent the institution at such a prestigious event.