Pangyo high social studies teacher and MUN advisor Erich Smeaton details the recent SEOMUN conference.
The 20th annual Seoul Model United Nations (SEOMUN) conference took place November 10-12, 2017, at the COEX Convention Center in Gangnam. Hosted by Seoul International School, hundreds of delegates from countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, and South Korea debated the year’s theme “Global Populism and National Identity.” The conference took place in a variety of council settings such as the Disarmament Commission, Historic Security Council, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to name a few.
Over 60 KISers were in attendance and our school was well represented during the closing ceremony. Three KIS delegates were awarded “Best Delegate,” five were awarded “Honorable Mention,” and one received recognition as “Best Advocate” in the International Court of Justice. Sophie, a senior at KIS, captured the professionalism of the conference, “Placards were always in the air, all delegates were eager to advocate for peace within the constraints of their nation’s stance, and the diplomatic arguments further enriched the quality of the debate.” The hard work of the KIS attendees paid off in their councils, and all delegates gave strong performances regardless of official recognition.
Most MUN members viewed the conference, as well as the MUN experience overall, as more than just a competition. The spirit and theme of the conference provided an opportunity to expand the attendees’ worldview while considering the points of view of a range of different nationalities. Sophie stated during her closing remarks as President of the History Security Council:
The United Nations at its core has three prevailing values: communication, collaboration, and compromise. Without these three values, the United Nations can’t function and international issues can’t be solved. We are people of different cultures, backgrounds, and understandings… if we decide to turn a blind eye on this diversity, our society loses its opportunity to develop. Thus, I urge all of you to appreciate each other, embrace adversarial opinions, and take advantage of this diversity to develop as a member of the global community.
Wise words indeed, and an example of the insight our MUN members gain with their participation in the club.
KIS will be hosting SEOMUN XXI in 2018. We look forward to preserving the legacy of the United Nations and supporting our local and global community in the process.
Text and photos from Erich Smeaton