TAISM Hosts Model United Nations Conference
The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) hosted its ninth annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference on January 20-21, 2017. Eighty students from local schools assembled at TAISM for the event. Participating schools included the British School of Muscat, Indian School Al-Ghubra, The Sultan’s School, American British Academy, Muscat International School, and TAISM.
Four months ago, all student delegates were assigned countries for which they would serve as UN “ambassadors” at the TAISM conference. After studying the contemporary history and political structure of their assigned countries, the students focused on the three main issues selected for the conference. These included: measures to counteract ocean acidification and coral bleaching; measures to further develop cross-border cooperation for the assistance of migrants and asylum seekers; and measures to promote the practice and teaching of environmentalism in schools.
The TAISM conference began with a thoughtful, humorous speech by Richard Baltimore III, former US Ambassador to Oman, who spoke about the importance of understanding “the other side” in any negotiation. This requires going beyond merely listening to what the other side wants, and striving to learn why they believe a particular demand is in their interest. Ambassador Baltimore encouraged the delegates to seek commonality of interests as they worked to together to resolve the issues under debate.
Upon completion of the opening ceremonies, the students worked in groups to draft resolutions pertaining to the three main issues. Under the leadership of the two Chairs, Nora Jackson and Arielle Combrinck, both TAISM seniors, the delegates adhered to strict parliamentary procedure as they spent the next two days debating and voting on resolutions and amendments pertaining to the issues. Although all the student delegates demonstrated impressive degrees of skill in public speaking, diplomacy, debating, and conflict resolution, two students were recognized for their exceptional performances. TAISM student Juan Quintana, representing Japan, earned the “Distinguished Delegate” award, while Siddhant Dhawan, of the Indian School Al Ghubra, representing the United States, earned the award for “Outstanding Delegate.”
The conference was a challenging and rewarding experience for the students involved, and many are looking forward to participating in the event again next year. In the meantime, TAISM MUN students will also participate in Georgetown University’s MUN conference in Doha in February and in the St. Petersburg International MUN Conference in March.