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Posts tagged as “Taipei American School”

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.

 

 

The Impact of Networking through MUN

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By Si Yun Ee, "UNF Shadow" and Student at Taipei American School

 

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Perhaps you may have came across my article (Being Inspired by Sharing the Impact of Model United Nations) last summer, about meeting the field leaders of social change, and adopting them as my mentors and source of guidance, that has helped me make in my community, and that of my own life. Last year, I wrote, “to my peers out there, don’t be afraid to search for opportunities”. More than ever now, I am strongly convinced of sticking with this belief having experienced the outcome of the power of networking within Model United Nations (MUN).

Many in and out of the MUN community have not necessarily seen the true value of the networking and socializing opportunities that the activity presents.

I am often asked the question, “why MUN?”

My answer will always be, “the people”.

It’s not about the benefits of meeting people who are so well connected, or the people who have tremendous expertise that I am so attracted to the community. In fact, the community is larger than life itself, brimming with stories, lessons, diverse backgrounds, and a myriad of soundly passionate people, who have voices, yearning to be heard by governments and to be recognized by organizations to make their own change.

Networking is not simply the act of adding someone on Snapchat or Facebook, neither is it a quick “hi” and “bye”, then crossing your fingers that the other party remembers you. I’ve learned that networking and socializing is indeed in part, what many of us think of as being a friendly person, and being bold in front of crowds or strangers. But above all, initiating and keeping in contact. There has never been rules that you must network and socialize to a huge crowd or to tens or hundreds of people at once. More likely than not, it is the one or two people who you spend the most time making meaningful conversations and listening to that will serve as a great source of support and guidance going forward. Because of the misguided notion that we must touch bases with so many, we often find ourselves stumbling through too many people, with overly casual remarks and interactions that both parties are likely not to retain.

But to the one or two people who we end up finding a great connection with, the opportunities that they extend to us are often not taken, with the thought of “he or she must not be serious” or “maybe he or she is just being nice”,  brushing off any golden offer that we could have so easily reached for to enrich our lives and our very own understanding and impact on the world.

My story of visiting the United Nations Foundation last year turned into a hustle and bustle of events for me this summer, starting with an extremely valuable opportunity to apply as high school intern at the United Nations Foundation (UNF). This would not have been possible had I not followed up with the people I was connected with (Ms. Rebecca Maxie), continuously staying in contact with her and her team through email. It was through a series of almost forty emails back and forth that in hindsight, I am so thankful that I persevered and stayed in contact long enough even though to there were times when wondered if I was sending too much, or sharing too much about the work that she has inspired me to do.

But this summer, it was clear to me that sharing any impact I was able to make through MUN and the community around me, and even writing about my experience, was definitely a joy for her, extending her own impact to future generations interested in her work to come.  Ms. Maxie shared that it was because of the initiative I had taken, in reaching out, staying connected and updating her about all the work that I did, which partially gave way to the possibility of even being at UNF for the summer experiencing what works were really brewing in an organization as big as UNF .

During my time at the United Nations Foundation, all the topics that the different campaigns covered, to the hottest topics on the front of the political scene, to the issues that plague our very communities are in their own way, related to a particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). For example, working most closely with the campaign Shot@Life at UNF this summer, I’ve found that they are mainly connected to SDG Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), but also connected to other SDGs like Goal 5 for gender equality, getting vaccinations to reach women and children in particular; which leads to Goal 1, with better healthcare, increasing chances of escaping poverty; that to, can also lead to Goal 11, by giving the less privileged a chance to leave the cycle of poverty, therefore reducing inequalities worldwide. Therefore, I plan to take back the SDGs that I care closely about, integrate them in the classroom discussions, establishing a platform for MUN Impact on campus to share my thoughts and experiences with my peers.

Of all the SDGs, there will be one that may resound most closely to you, and one that resounds closely with me. Find that SDG that strikes an interest in your heart, a motivates you to reach out and act for change through your own means, whether that be through ways such as scientific advancement, influential writing, convincing speeches or passionate volunteerism and advocacy.

All the SDGs are interconnected someway or the other, which makes both your interests and mine intertwined. We are all in this together, regardless of where you’re from or how far you can reach. But bonding together as a community of passionate MUNers, and connecting to the people who you can reach, can help extend your span of reach towards professionals in the field to better learn from one another, express our ideas, and combine our efforts for impact.  

As a senior in high school now, looking back, I would not have thought all of this possible when I continued on my journey as an MUNer during freshman year. I would not have thought that MUN would have led me to say, “I spent the summer before senior year in Washington D.C., observing and learning at the UN Foundation”, or that “I got to meet and work with one of the most passionate, hardworking, and excited team of change makers at the UN Foundation”. It’s truly amazing witnessing the power of MUN on our own lives, that empowers us to make change in lives of others.

To all my peers out there, step out. Don’t be afraid to break out of your bubble. Reach far, dream big. Have goals, be courageous in fulfilling them. You’ll never know who you meet and what you will land across. That’s how you’ll be able to make your own impact.

[caption id="attachment_3220" align="alignnone" width="300"] [Rooftop of UN foundation Office July 2018] Front (left to right): Gabriela Cristobal, Sarah Ristau, Si Yun Ee, Ines Renique Second row (left to right): Cara Ciullo, Rebecca Maxie, Martha Rebour, Brian Massa Back row (left to right): John Prendergast, Taylor Gates, Lindsey Miller-Voss[/caption]

Taipei American School Girl Up Leadership Summit II

MUN Impact 0

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.