Co - MUN Conference

By Tahnee Hopman

The world struggles to cope with floods, freak weather conditions and other natural disasters; and lives in fear of what may happen in 2012. Against this backdrop, roughly 500 students from 50 schools will soon gather in the hope of creating a positive impact as they step into the shoes of diplomats.

For the 17th time, the Colombo Model United Nations Conference brings these students together on March 4, 5 and 6 at The Overseas School Colombo and at Water’s Edge. An annually held simulation within the framework of the United Nations, the conference is held with the object of creating awareness among students of pressing world issues, and initiating the necessary activism while learning how to deal with responsibility, respecting differences of opinion and making many friends in the process.

“Generally, students between the ages of 12 and 18 can participate in the conference,” explains 18 year old Dimitra Abeysekara, the President GA of Co-MUN 2011. A participant in the conference from the past six years, Dimitra can relate well to the benefits of the experience.

“The conference is not just about gaining knowledge of current affairs. It also helps in giving a student the confidence he or she would need in the future, any chosen career,” he says. “It is nice to have younger students actively participating, because they would be around for a long time and there is assurance that the objectives of MUN will continue to be met.”

Observing the conference as it has evolved over the past six years, Dimitra speaks of the rapid rise in numbers, and the increased interest schools have shown in grooming students for the experience. “At first, there was not much understanding of the concept and the benefits of taking part,” he says. “But over the years, as schools and students have grown more familiar with the conference, the quality of the participants and their knowledge has improved considerably.”

Co- MUN 2011 promises to be somewhat different from its predecessors. Unfolding in three stages- pre-conference, conference and post- conference, importance will also be given to community service and the provision of aid to disaster affected areas.

As always, resolutions passed during the conference will be handed over to the UN. “This year,” elaborates Dimitra, “we will choose a few important resolutions- probably from the Economic and Social Council, and put these forward for consideration.”

With many such resolutions handed in from Model United Conferences around the world, there is no guarantee that the action will be taken on the resolutions. However, while acknowledging and commending the efforts of the participating students, the United Nations gives important consideration to opinions and initiatives of the potential future diplomats.

“At the end of the conference, we know that we have put forward our ideas; and that we have proved a point: that youth has a voice; and that it will make itself heard,” reflects Dimitra. “This makes all the challenges and effort worth the while, and makes us eagerly anticipate the outcome of the conference.”

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