MUNA: Shaping the youth of the world
In the rise of globalization, the Philippines is geared towards global competitiveness through its youth development and empowerment. With this vision, the 16th Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) Philippines 2014 proved instrumental its establishment as an avenue for the youth to face the challenges of a fast-integrating global nation through keen awareness of global issues and a better understanding of international diplomacy.
This year's MUNA was yet another history made by the Rotary Club of Makati Jose P. Rizal, the organizers of the event, as almost 160 delegates and observers participated in the two days of debates, discussions, friendship, diplomacy and goodwill. The assembly, which was held last February 22-23, 2014 at the World Health Organization, UN Avenue, Manila, was my first ever MUNA experience.
Being a first-time participant of the assembly as an observer, I was overwhelmed to see high school international students write operative clauses, debate around, and propose resolutions to global issues like professionals.
Some resolutions discussed in the General Assembly of the delegates include issues regarding transnational and organized crimes focused on Cybercrime, ensuring the equal opportunities for religious groups to express their beliefs in member states, and promotion of GMOs especially in regions where crops are scarce.
The committees of the MUNA assembly, which include The Security Council, Human Rights Committee, Political Committee, Environment Committee and Economic and Social Council were headed by experienced students from international schools, one of which is a Filipino, and composed of other student delegates distributed acccordingly.
The only local school
As I have observed, the high school international students seemed very well-versed and accustomed to MUNA, and were very knowledgeable and competitive in representing their assigned countries.
Their confidence in the procedures of the MUNA is undoubtedly brought forth by years of reinforcement and experience.
International schools who participated include Brent International School, International School Manila, Faith Academy, British School Manila, Colegio de San Agustin, Southville International School and Colleges, Stonyhurst Southville International School, Fountain International School, Multiple Intelligence International School, and Reedley International School.
University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), being the only local school participant in the event, was mostly composed of the members of the UP Model United Nations (UP MUN), established only in 2013. The UP MUN has been actively participating in Model United Nations assemblies, congress, and conferences, making them competent enough to meet the demands of such assembly.
The heart for service
The annual Model United Nations Assembly is hosted and organized by the Rotary Club of Makati Jose P. Rizal in line with their mission of international service.
This year, in partnership with Brent, the assembly guaranteed greater diversity among participating students.
Through the years, MUNA has developed the confidence of the youth to face the adversities of a global world. With student delegates representing different countries and voicing out issues and concerns to an assembly, MUNA has trained students to debate about global issues and provide resolutions through peaceful means of round-table discussions and talks, opening the youth to the world of diplomacy and goodwill.
It has helped the youth in building confidence and instilling friendships and networks between international and local students.
The establishment of MUNA envisions a globally aware and competitive Filipino youth, equipped with the abilities and skills of addressing the nation's concerns and the global issues.
MUNA has accepted delegates from all local and international schools who are interested to join. Sunder Maraon, the project director of the 16th MUNA, said only a few local schools applied for the assembly. He added that this low participation is perhaps due to a lack of MUN activities and training in local schools.
However, he emphasized that any school may apply for the MUNA, even without having their own MUN simulations. Every year, as part of the preparations for the MUNA, the Rotary Club of Makati conducts Model United Nations Orientation programs months before the assembly itself.
This could help the students interested be informed about the basics of MUN and help them in their preparation towards their participation.
The Rotary envisions the local youth to reap the fruits of global awareness and involvement in MUNA.
In fact, the Rotary has been offering sponsorships for delegates from local schools interested to join the assembly. UPLB delegates were sponsored by the Rotary in this year's MUNA. By extending resources and information to the locals, the Rotary seeks to empower the Filipino youth by getting them involved.
The Rotary Club of Makati is faced with the challenge of reaching out to more local schools and increasing the representation of Filipino delegates at the MUNA.
Local schools must also have the initiative to take part in this educational program, so as to help their students have a wider perspective of the world.
Lastly, the students must also realize their need for development. With the Filipino youth realizing their potentials and capacities for effecting change, there is hope that we can make the world a better place. – Rappler.com
Allison Danao is a third year Communication Arts student from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She was an official delegate of the university as an observer to the 16th Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) Philippines.