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Posts tagged as “MUN Impact”

Lebawi Academy hosts Trafficking Awareness Event

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Lebawi Academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, hosted a day of awareness raising around the issue of human trafficking and SDG 16. In addition to panel participants talking about ways to raise awareness on this issue, students also learned about the Blue Heart Campaign and its work to support the victims of human trafficking.

Lebawi's MUN Club was actively involved in promoting this event, connecting and using their MUN expertise to bring awareness to SDG 16 and target 16.2

The UNODC's press release can be found here.

MUN Impact has listed a number of resources and ideas for supporting SDG 16, which you can find here. Don't forget to check out our Blue Heart Campaign page. UNICEF also has a number of resources on human trafficking.

Aware Youth for a Healthier Future

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By Jaideep Singh, THIMUN Qatar Executive Team member

 

 

 

 

 

 

The UN, with a vision to achieve a more sustainable future and a better world by the year 2030, has established the 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). Out of these, I personally believe that SDG 3- Good Health and Well Being- is the key to the success of all the other goals in the true sense. And for this goal to be successful, the involvement of the youth is imperative. With this prospect in mind, the THIMUN Qatar Executive Team has begun an initiative to educate the youth of Qatar about the SDGs, and one of the initial glances of which was the workshop at the Qatar National Library on the 14th Of November, led by myself alongside the Deputy President of the General Assembly for TQ 2019, Tianne Pane, advocating for SDG 3 in the State of Qatar.

The workshop was intended to help the youth of Qatar understand the relevance of SDG 3 in the region, and the various forms in which it needs to be achieved. There was an initial discussion on the global prospect of the goal, followed by a discussion specific to Qatar, with the core issue of the SDG being the large numbers of deaths caused due to road accidents. Some of the minor issues discussed included obesity, Vitamin D deficiency, poor mental health etc. Participants actively participated during the course of the workshop, particularly in the segment of the case studies of Aspire Academy(A school in the region with facilities to support student athletes and exercise for Qatari youth) and the diabetes camp led by Y.H.Naomi (an Indian student in Qatar). Such a wholesome perspective on the SDG, followed by discussion on indicators, trackers and finally the use of the MUN Impact Tool intended to help participants plan on how to go about and initiate service projects based on SDG 3 in their own communities and schools.

The workshop culminated with an activity involving the use of the Planning tool by all participants to draft their own service project, followed by a discussion at the end on the ideas each participant had thought of. Some great ideas came through, ranging from measures to target substance abuse, to ways by which road accident and subsequent deaths may be tackled.

The session was truly a memorable one, and I feel honoured to have had the privilege of leading it alongside Tianne. Such initiatives are greatly effective in ensuring better youth involvement for a more sustainable future, and other schools, communities and student leaders should also be a part of such events, in order to truly bring out what the youth of today has to offer toward building a sustainable Earth.

 

 

CHEMUN rocks their SDG Outreach

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CHEMUN is a THIMUN-affiliated conference run each year in Chennai, India. They have embraced the SDGs and MUN Impact with gusto! They share some great observations about MUN Impact, the SDGs, and adding more action and activism to their annual conference.

Why did your MUN club choose this particular SDG to focus on? Was it hard to convince people to get on board with a plan like this? Easy? Why?

We chose to focus on SDG 1 because of its omnipresence throughout Indian society. The amount of exposure to the global issue of poverty which we have in India has definitely played role in our approach to tackling this issue. Because of the nature of the Indian environment, others also had a clear picture of the issue in their minds, which helped us further promote awareness of the issue and its adverse effects. Therefore, it wasn’t too difficult to get others on board with our idea because their prior knowledge of the issue motivated them to contribute in any way they saw possible.

How did you embed this SDG action into your MUN club and/or conference?

In preparing for the MUN Impact Zone at our school's MUN conference (CHEMUN), we decided to build a hut similar to those that many poor families in Chennai live in. Our aim of recreating a real hut was to allow delegates and advisors participating in our CHEMUN conference to experience the lifestyle of impoverished communities in India in order to raise their awareness and further their understanding of the issue.

With the help of local builders as well as some of our school's students, we successfully built our hut with wooden poles, natural fiber ropes, and dried woven coconut tree fronds. Within the hut, we included the SDG 1 indicators and targets for visitors to learn more about poverty from a global standpoint.

Is this an ongoing action? Something your club will continue in the future or an action that has not been fully completed yet?

While our work with the hut has finished, we are hoping to begin implementing more projects to tackle SDG 1 which will be more sustainable. In the future, we plan on combining SDG 1 and SDG 4 to create a project which tackles the need for quality education and how it consequently tackles the issue of poverty.

What challenges did you face in undertaking this action?

One obstacle that we faced during the construction process of the hut was the language barrier between us and the local builders. As many of us didn’t share a common language with the builders, it was challenging for us to ask questions about a specific technique or to communicate in general. However, the obstacle turned out to be easily surmountable as after everyone learned the basic techniques, with the help of our supervising teacher and some of our students that could speak Tamil, we could easily communicate with and learn from the builders using body language.

Another challenge that we encountered was concerning the maintenance of the hut before the CHEMUN conference. We, in fact, became aware of this challenge when we were building the hut as we were reminded that the location we were building the hut at needed to be available for use before the conference. In other words, we had to store the finished hut in another space and move it back to where we originally planned it to be right before the conference. To overcome this challenge, we decided to build each wall separate from each other so that we could easily deconstruct, store, and reconstruct the hut.

Maintaining the MUN impact zone during the CHEMUN conference was another obstacle the group faced. As only 1 member of the club was able to participate in the maintenance, it was challenging to attract student delegate’s attention towards the purpose of our team and the hut.

What appeared to be highlights of this action? Were you pleasantly surprised at any of the results?

The highlights of our existing projects in the realm of SDG 1 was the visit to the slum. The slum visit was a rather interesting experience due to the discordance between our expectations and what we saw. Obviously, our expectation was that the people living in the slum are poor and are in need some kind of financial aid to survive and thrive in their environments. Though, we found that the community in the slum are not actually living in poverty; this surprised us because when we thought of people living under poverty in India, the slum people appeared to be experiencing the highest level of poverty in Chennai. Another surprising fact was that the people tended to be satisfied with their economic status, so our vision to empower them economically was incongruent with their will to grow.

In terms of PROCESS, what would you recommend to other MUN clubs looking to undertake an action similar to yours? What steps, do you feel, are critically important to include?

In terms of process, it is crucial to at least partially understand the problem before undertaking an action. Ways to understand the problem may be gaining in-field experience rather than merely inferring from statistical figures; though numbers indicate the prevalence of the issue, understanding the problem itself requires an approach that will keep you personally engaged to the situation. One thing to keep in mind while identifying the issue is to discuss your stance on the issue: where you, your experience and expertise, will fit in the solving an aspect of the issue.

Think of solutions to SDG problems through the lens of resolution drafting. In the process of drafting a resolution, a delegate would look at sub-issues to the topic and take different approaches in addressing the same issue. For instance, a common solution in a resolution is educating the public of the topic: do the same for your SDG, create awareness of the topic in your school community. Additionally, collecting donations is another common solution. For SDG1, we collected donations of merchandises that we sent to school children and households who do may not afford such toys, books, and household items. Therefore, take a multifaceted approach to your solution.

United Nations MUN Impact Youth Summit, April 12 2019

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United Nations MUN Youth Summit

***TO REGISTER, PLEASE SEE THE SIGN UP LINK

Friday, 12 April 2019, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
United Nations Headquarters

Model United Nations (MUN) simulations are popular exercises for those interested in learning more about the United Nations (UN). It is estimated that more than 400,000 students worldwide participate every year in MUN at all educational levels – from primary school to university. Many of today’s leaders in law, government, business and the arts participated in MUN as students.

While MUN has always involved researching and debating important global issues, the UN’s Department of Public Information (DPI) would like to see it become an actual agent of change in communities across the globe. It supports the evolution of MUN into a community that could take real action to support the UN and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As a first step, DPI’s Education Outreach Section, in collaboration with MUN Impact, will hold the inaugural United Nations MUN Impact Youth Summit on 12 April in New York. This one-day event will feature workshops and plenaries led by inspiring student leaders and UN experts who will share their experiences and ideas on how to transform MUN into a force for positive change. Whether currently active in MUN or interested in becoming involved, participants will leave with a toolkit of ideas, a network of support and a new action-oriented vision for their MUN clubs or conferences.

Following a substantive discussion on how the UN is working to implement the SDGs around the world, workshop sessions will be held, including among others:

  • Planning for Impact: Concrete ways to bring action and service to your MUN conference
  • UN Connect: Learning how to tap into current UN campaigns and initiatives to connect your MUN program to the UN
  • Delegates supporting Delegates: Inspirational stories of delegates helping delegates to bring MUN to new and underserved communities
  • Real Time/Real Action: Learning how to develop a successful social media campaign that will inspire students to take meaningful action in support of the SDGs

This event will be open to students between the ages of 15 and 24. In advance of the summit, participants will be asked to submit presentations, detailing specific actions that they have taken to advance the SDGs. A select few will have the opportunity to present their outcomes at the event – to inspire youth to engage with the UN and take concrete steps to help achieve the SDGs. A press team led by students will manage social media outreach throughout the day, helping to raise awareness of the SDGs and motivate students to join this worldwide effort.

For questions and to register, please contact education-outreach@un.org.

TASMUN 2018 & The Sustainable Development Goals

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By: Si Yun Ee, Delegate at Taipei American School and MUN Impact Staff Writer

 

In April 2018, I had the honor of serving as TASMUN’s (Taipei American School Model United Nations) Secretary-General. The ninth annual TASMUN took on a very experiential, bold, and unique approach to Model United Nations (MUN) to say the least.

 

Unlike the conventional MUN conferences, where committees ranged from the usual few that were similar and topics were repeated from conference to conference; my Secretariat team and I worked hard to place a strong emphasis for the conference, on something we shared as a common passion - The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s conference theme was MUN Impact. By having MUN Impact as the center of our conference, we hoped not only to shed light on the newly growing MUN Impact community and organization, but also to raise awareness regarding the purpose of a united community, passionate about global issues to solve the global goals (SDGs)  we have set before us. As such, each of our committees were named after a particular sustainable development goal that we found to be relatable to our participants or interesting and approachable to our general audience. Each committee, would therefore focus on topics related to that one goal and specialize in issues of that area.   

 

 

 

In addition, committee topics were inspired and sifted through Sustainable Development Goals targets and indicators, tweaked so that they were not overly complex or broad, but yet fresh and challenging enough for our conference participants. We hoped that by doing so, our participants would not only be more aware of the SDGs and their existence, but to gain a particular expertise or find an interest or passion in a particular SDG that may spur action, inspiration and impact.

 

Call it revolutionary, non conforming, different, unique or weird; a focus on the SDGs to such an extreme from committee names, or to specified topics. Over the two days of the conference, participants told us how much they enjoyed the specificity of topics they enjoyed, the knowledge they have grasped and gained expertise in; most importantly, an understanding of how much each SDG impacted our world. The SDGs were no longer just a far reaching foreign concept to them, it is now an action prompting question waiting to be solved.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Secretary-General for TASMUN IX, I hope to leave a message on behalf of my Secretariat team, to both our conference participants and MUN participants worldwide:

As we seek to evolve the culture of Model UN by assisting each other in understanding the value of action and activism especially in these tumultuous times, the focus of this year’s conference structure not only strives to promote impact through MUN, but also to evaluate and to take further consideration of the Sustainable Development Goals. In taking initiative to achieve the SDGs, the power of impact through MUN will be prominent - and that is what I hope we can all take away and share with those who have not seen what we, as a commu

nity is capable of changing. Let TASMUN IX be the first change, non conforming to the norms of what MUN may mean to you. Let yourself be the living and breathing impact of MUN, youths who contribute to our global community, and a team of activists capable of rousing change that we so desperately need.

 

 

History made at UNODC’s E4J MUN Workshop

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MUN conference managers, educators, academics and UN field officers gathered at the United Nations in Vienna this past May and held a series of conversations that had never before taken place. There was a palpable sense of history being made. We had been invited to participate in UNODC’s Education for Justice MUN workshop where we had the opportunity to get to know one another, look for ways we could support each other’s work, and most importantly, to figure out how to best educate MUN delegates on UNDOC mandates. With the help of the wonderful Best Delegate team, we spent three days in enriching conversations, both during the day, over lunch and breaks, and well into each evening.

 

E4J, with generous funding from the state of Qatar through the 2014 Crime Congress in Doha, decided that a powerful way to educate youth on UNODC mandates (many of them linked to SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) was through MUN. The E4J team validated the MUN community by asking for input, and going back to their drawing board a number of times in 2017 to refine and perfect a series of resources that would be used on a global scale. By bringing a cross section of participants to Vienna, field officers and UN officials began to appreciate the power of this enormous MUN network. And MUN programs gave serious thought to how to best guide research, discussions and debate around the things the UN wants all of us to be more knowledgeable about.

 

 

Yet for the uninitiated, most are surprised to know the degree to which the UN and the MUN Community have very rarely engaged one another. The United Nations and Model United Nations inhabit two different ecosystems. UN officials who run UN programs are specialists, technocrats in the best sense of the word. And educators and others who run MUN programs, whether those are big conferences or small MUN clubs, usually have a different set of goals and objectives. Often these do not overlap.  With no central organization setting rules and procedures, no one sanctioned method for choosing debate topics and finding resources to support delegate training and research, the MUN community begins to resemble a collection of nation states, each MUN program with its own rules and procedures, a favored approach to engaging with their followers, and at times fierce brand loyalty to their conference. And by and large, most have preferred it that way. Not surprisingly, in this environment Model UN programs hav had few, if any, opportunities to come together and discuss larger issues within their global community. Model United Nations has never been able to speak with one voice, because the conversation has been about differences and what sets us apart.

The E4J MUN workshop provided an opportunity to change that. Parking our differences at the door, the participants discussed ways that we could support one another. We needed to get to know one another, to understand the diversity and goals of the MUN community, and to realize that field offices had expertise to share but very real constraints in its time and resources. The UN learned that a good many Model UN practitioners want to support the UN and its work, and MUN practitioners learned that UN agencies and programs welcomed support in engaging a wide swath of civil society stakeholders. And in that sweet spot of convergence, an entirely new conversation emerged.

MUN Impact had a special role in this converging dialogue, because in reframing a much richer and wider conversation, we were able to address an important underlying tension within the MUN community. For all the personal impact that delegates experience through their MUN experience, that experience often ends when the gavel comes down at the closing ceremony. But many educators and conference organizers, and delegates themselves, often wish for more…more action, more relevance to their community, and a sense of service to support what they have learned through MUN. MUN Impact was able to share some ideas and resources and most importantly, stories of what action plus MUN, in the service of the real UN, might look like. To bring the stories of real MUN delegates doing real work to advance the UN’s agenda was validating, powerful and eye opening. It was a glimpse into what was possible, and hopefully cemented action and service via Model UN squarely into the center of this emerging global discussion.

We DID make history in Vienna, and in a small  but important way started a new conversation between the United Nations and Model UN community, long overdue, exciting, and filled with potential. Thank you to the E4J team for bringing us together and starting this valuable conversation. The fruits of this collaboration are beginning to show signs of taking hold. The 2018-19 MUN season is sure to be an exciting one.

    

 

HELA supports UNODC Mandates with biggest conference to date

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In August, Hope for Education and Leadership in Afghanistan (HELA) hosted their largest MUN conference to date. Over 400 delegates participated in a two day conference, focusing primarily on UNODC mandate topics. We caught up with Sulaiman Sulaimankhil, Co-Founder of HELA, to get an update on the conference.

(HELA was founded by MUN delegates, who created the first NGO in Afghanistan devoted entirely to promote Model UN in the country).

Why did you want to do UNODC mandate topics? 

Following the start of the valuable program of E4J MUN, we at HELA organization consider ourselves to be one of the only implementing partners of UNODC in the project of E4J. Therefore, we believe we should carry the responsibility of spreading the program in Afghanistan on our shoulders, through increasing awareness about the mandate topics of UNODC. But most importantly we believe these issues are really crucial and need to be discussed and debated by Afghan youth; our country suffers a lot due to existing challenges, many of which are covered by the mandate areas

What is HELA's goal as far as supporting UNODC?

HELA is transforming itself into a big national organization that will operate in all the provinces of Afghanistan, and through this transformation, we aim to continue supporting UNODC with spreading awareness about their mandate topics and about UNODC  itself. In the upcoming years we will be able to provide Model UN opportunities to most of the provinces in Afghanistan. It is our goal to continue selecting UNODC mandate topics for our upcoming conferences because HELA strongly believes in the importance of promoting the culture of lawfulness in Afghanistan.

Did you use the E4J MUN guide in any way? If so, what parts and why was it helpful? 

After returning back to Afghanistan from the E4J workshop in Vienna, we started training our team using the E4J MUN guide. It was helpful because it clearly describes the right way of doing Model UN, using the mandated topics, and forming committees in our conferences. There were links for supporting materials and documents. It's a very valuable resource for us.

  

 

What topics did you debate? 

So far we have debated the following topics in our conferences:

  • The question of Human Trafficking and addressing migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean.
  • Effective measures to protect the rights of smuggled migrants.
  • Reforming the criminal justice system and developing alternatives to imprisonment.
  • Improving access to education during times of conflict.

Did you try to contact the UNODC office and get them to send a speaker? 

We contacted the UNODC office to ask them to send a speaker to the conferences but despite several efforts, we did not manage to get their speaker to come to our conference. We definitely would love to have their support in future events!

What major things do you think the delegates learned about UNODC mandates? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we mostly focused on the topics related to migrants, that is the number one thing they discussed and debated and they learned important things about their protection, rights and etc. But also, delegates learned new things such as crime prevention and alternatives to imprisonment and the rights of prisoners.

Do you have plans to debate UNODC mandates in the future? 

As mentioned in the beginning, we are planning to widen our activities throughout the country and we also bear in mind the idea of promoting the UNODC mandates, so yes we will have several conferences on the mentioned topics.

 

SDG1: Helping to End Poverty by Colegio Ayalde

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By the Colegio Ayalde MUN Club

Colegio Ayalde is located near Bilbao in the Basque Country, Spain. The students have been participating in MUN conferences since 2014 and organised their first  conference, MUN Bilbao, in January 2017. The MUN activity here at Ayalde has grown from an original five students to over seventy participating now.

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It all started about two months ago, when our teacher talked to us about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She challenged us to come up with a cooperative way to help on the achievement of these targets.

Extremely good projects were raised from the brainstorming we made the next day. After meticulously evaluating the pros and cons of each idea, we all agreed that a school-wide collection of different products would be the most effective idea. This collection would undoubtedly be a helpful method to help achieving the 1st Goal, “End Poverty”.

The UN has published different ways in which this target could be reached. Most of them had to do with policies and politics, but some others - such as distributing products among people in need - was manageable for us, an enthusiastic group of teenagers.

No sooner said than done, we got to the job in hand and started giving speeches about the project around the school. In order to make our presentations understandable for all, we had to adapt them to the students’ age. We divided into pairs and explained to the whole school what the SDGs were and how we were going to help the UN. We were glad to see that all the students were enthusiastic about it!

The idea was to assign each grade with a different product. The smallest ones, for example, had to bring all types of books or toys. Girls aged 9 to 12 were asked to collects clothes, while the oldest students brought in school material. In the end, we got to fill 5 vans, and took the goods to Cáritas (a Spanish organization who distributes these among needy families).

All in all, this project has made us feel useful and even necessary for the achievement of the Goals. We also learnt a lot about managing big projects, which is an undeniably essential life-skill. We’re very thankful to our teachers and the other students, who gave their all to make the most of our project. We are all now eager to launch a brand new campaign for the SDGs!

 

 

 

 

Distant elites, the Goals, and the future of MUN

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By Lisa Martin

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In March, I found my way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I came on a mission-to find an emerging MUN Club to collaborate with and bring to THIMUN Qatar 2019. Lebawi Academy's new MUN program had huge aspirations, and I wanted to meet the MUN Director and their students. The Lebawi Academy MUN Club did not disappoint, and I was treated to a spectacular day, meeting some incredible students, teachers and school administrators. By the time I left I knew I had located the perfect school with which to collaborate, and I will leave it to the Lebawi and Qatar Academy Doha students to share their stories as their emerging collaboration develops.

I spent the morning visiting different clubs at the school: meeting with the student government, the girl's empowerment club, the girls who code.  The morning was filled with incredibly engaged students sharing their projects and stories, and by lunch I was already overwhelmed by the positive energy. It was a day of many superlatives, from the excellent tour of the school to the amazing lunch, and a visit to the school's small special needs classroom, but there was one interaction with students left a profound impact on me, and has informed some of my thinking on MUN Impact moving forward.

Gathered in a small classroom, I listened to this articulate group of young women explain project after project they were working on. From maternal health and FGM to access to higher education and technology innovation projects they were working on. I began to see a pattern...each of the projects they were describing were related to an SDG, and in almost all cases, a specific target. I finally stopped the conversation and said  "Do you REALIZE that what you are doing, all of these programs, are supporting the SDGs?" And after some silence I asked "How many of you know what the SDGs are?" A few tentative hands were raised, but generally speaking, this was a term that had little currency with the group.

I went on to explain that quite unknowingly, they were part of a huge global movement, an international commitment by the United Nations to address multiple complex issues that underpin sustainable development. Did they know they were part of something that was actually a massive global undertaking? They had not, they told me, but a current of energy pulsed through that room in what teachers know to be those exquisite, teachable moments. And when I asked if they wanted to be connected to this larger movement, and to act as role models within it, the answer was 'Of course'.

In my final meeting that day with the school leadership, I shared my observation on this unintentional SDG alignment. I commended them on the service ethic that seemed to be a part of every aspect of the school and suggested that there might be real value in taking a closer look at their programs and searching for further SDG alignment. But it was the Assistant Dean of the School who put this SDG discussion into context. He said the the average person in Ethiopia saw the SDGs and something designed by distant elites, something that had little relevance to the average person. And yet, ironically, the entire school, with its service ethic, was deeply committed to those very goals and was working to solve them every single day!

It led me to ask myself a number of questions. How many young people were engaged in supporting the Goals without knowing it? How many school programs could be linked/aligned directly to the SDGs by simply evaluating their programs? Is simply knowing that your work supports the Goals of value in and of itself and is there synergy that comes from identifying your initiatives as part of a larger movement? How could this enormous chasm between local action and goals formulated by 'distant elites' be bridged? Was there a role for young people to play in narrowing this gap,  making the Goals accessible in some kind of meaningful way to local communities? Could students mentoring students be part of this solution? Could MUN be a vehicle for delivering SDG awareness and a space for young people to engage in UN mandates (content), their communities (through action) and by collaborating with one another to bring the change needed to make the Goals attainable?

I think Model UN has an enormous role to play in bridging this chasm. This high school aged demographic, eager to work to support the Goals and larger mandates of the United Nations, seems to be both underutilized and only minimally engaged by the UN itself. When the different rules of procedure and the false dichotomy of what makes MUN, well 'proper MUN' is removed,  and the competitiveness gets stripped away from conferences, something very different emerges.  This is what MUN Impact has discovered: a groundswell of enthusiasm for 'doing something' with the knowledge gained through MUN participation. If we can purposefully connect MUN delegates around the world to ask these bigger questions about successfully attaining the Goals, and to facilitate opportunities to work together, something powerful will emerge.

The future of MUN will be found in places like Lebawi Academy. With the help of MUN Impact, this club and others like it can pivot together into something more powerful than just debate. This is a global community ready to lean in and support the UN through action. Now is the time to take words off a resolution and apply them to the challenges we face. I think our delegates are ready for this challenge.

    

 

 

 

Taipei American School Girl Up Leadership Summit II

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By Janice Yang, Annabel Uhlman, Vivian Wang, Niralee Shah

MUN Impact Press Writer: Si Yun Ee

 

On April 7, 2018, the Girl Up Club in Taipei American School (TAS) hosted our second annual Leadership Summit.  Our high school club is registered as a chapter of Girl Up which operates under the umbrella of the United Nations Foundation.  As we reflected on the intent of the club’s founding and began our work in hosting a summit that would attract over 100 participants, we realized the significance of our journey and how closely it aligns with MUN-Impact’s process of Inspire, Dive In, and Impact.

Our chapter’s founding two years ago was inspired by the recognition of a lack of discussion and awareness of gender issues within our community.  The Girl Up organization itself closely aligns its mission with Sustainable Development Goals number 4 and 5: Inclusive and Quality Education for All, and Gender Equality and Empowerment of All Women and Girls. Girl Up’s five pillars of action to cultivate areas such as girls’ leadership, education, and health were all missions that inspired us.  We were energized to be part of a change.

The “Dive In” component of our initiative involved converting all our dreams into reality, which often required all things related to logistics more than anything else; learning about the paperwork necessary to start a club, defining and then executing a club leadership structure, and learning how to connect with the larger UN Foundation Girl Up network. Of course, there were also many other smaller yet even more important things, like getting members to show up for meetings, or deciding what content (of the infinite possibilities) we wanted to talk about at each meeting.   All the logistical steps that would eventually lead to the impact stage also included discovering and attending the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.. At this Summit  we were in contact with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Rosie Rios and model Ashley Graham. We also got the opportunity to lobby with U.S. Congresspeople to pass legislation related to girls’ education. The Summit in D.C. further inspired to take what we learned and to maximize such a valuable experience to make an Impact within our own school community.

 

The following year we simulated the experience of the Leadership Summit in D.C., bringing it to a broader audience of youths and peers at TAS. Our summit was targeted for those who did not have the opportunity to attend the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington D.C., to encourage discussion and advocacy of gender issues, and to promote the notion to many on campus that pursuing gender equality should not be discouraged.

While the summit held at TAS was modelled after the summit in D.C., the event catered to the key issues commonly experienced by our school community and its audience of mostly youths. The overall theme pertained most relevantly to SDG 5 of Gender Equality and Empowerment. Specific workshops, many of which were interactive or discussion-based, explored more nuanced aspects of the topics, ranging from Self Defense to Matrilineage to Women’s Leadership and Amplification.

Through the two years of our running this summit, our participation numbers jumped from 60 to over 100, including both student and faculty workshop presenters and event attendees. Most recently, we were also able to invite speakers such as the Ambassador of Belize, as well as women leaders of law and technology firms Paragon Legal and Intel to talk about how gender issues are tackled on both the global and the personal level.

 

Although MUN Impact had not been established when we started this journey, reflection as we prepare their next journey to college reveals how closely the process of impacting our surrounding community through issues we are passionate about aligned with the goals of MUN Impact. This whole project has taught us that yes, it is indeed possible to create something from nothing, and reach hundreds of people with our passions through the process. From a small community here at TAS, we can find the same goals and passion to implement impact, parallel to the reason for encouraging youth to take action - exactly why MUN Impact was established.