A Week in the Life of a MUN Admin Staff
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Two weeks ago, our school hosted its ninth annual UNIS Model United Nations (UNISMUN) conference. Participating in the conference this year were 300 delegates from 16 other schools from around the region, including schools from the Philippines and Laos.
This year’s conference had many firsts. This was the first year that UNISMUN entertained two Secretaries General – Yoav Shahar (Grade 11) and Minh Quan Do (Grade 10); the first time UNISMUN had a Crisis Council, which was directed by Long Than and Linh Nguyen (Grade 11); the first time we had an Advisory Panel, advised by Seyon Park and YJ Lee (Grade 12, who were also last year’s Secretary-General and President of the General Assembly); and the first time the plenary session was held in the Sports Centre.
The theme for this year’s conference was Our Future: Children, Health, and Education. Each committee (apart from Crisis), had at least one issue on the theme. Over the three days in which the conference took place, robust and fruitful debates were witnessed and delegates had the opportunity to bond with one another more through lobbying and debate sessions. This year saw a lot more notes being passed, due to the increase in the number of delegates, which meant a lot more walking for admins. Admins are one of the most under-appreciated members of MUN and I would like to take this chance to thank them. Young Ho Kim (Grade 11), Head of Admin, despite having to handle many difficult logistic situations, was still able to keep things under control for the entire conference.
Our co-Secretaries General and our President of the General Assembly (who happens to be the writer of this article) also worked hard, not only during the three days but also many months prior to the conference. Pre-conference, these were the people who took care of the handbooks, manuals, and the UNISMUN website. They were also the ones who communicated back and forth with student officers as well as directors from other schools. During the conference, they had to walk just about as much as admins and they also had to deal with many issues that arose.
Despite the fluttering of red ties across campus on conference day, everyone who isn’t a part of MUN still asks: “what on earth do you do as an admin?” Many see it simply as the job of passing notes and counting votes. While that isn’t necessarily wrong, it isn’t the whole truth either. The admin staff put time and effort so that the three-day conferences run smoothly, spending days prior and during the event preparing and organizing everything from the rooms to the printers.
Since it was his first year being Head of Admin (after Giang Nguyen’s incredible run), Young Ho was still new to everything. But because of that, everything he did and assigned was thought out extra carefully, ensuring that everything would go as well as it could. The two days were extremely tiring; the team cut out construction paper, printed placards, printed signs, arranged the badges for all three hundred delegates, and even prepared note paper and amendment paper for every committee. And then there were the rooms themselves, which needed to be set up.
When the days of the conference arrived, things got serious. The first few hours of the conference were the most difficult, as problems arose and people struggled to find solutions. It wasn’t until after lunch that everyone became comfortable with their job, and engaged in the debate. We began to read all the notes that were sent, which ranged from flirtatious encounters between Russia and China, faux Snapchat requests for Austria from “Germany”, to mini Kim Jong Un portraits distributed by the DPRK.
Everything was fun until the plenary session came. For those who don’t know, the plenary session constitutes of all three General Assembly committees as well as the Human Rights Council and the Special Committee. This adds up to around 200 delegates all debating in the sports center, with around 15 Admins working. Despite the scale and importance, admins still received and passed quite a few notes between friends.
However tiring it may be, MUN was a fun experience overall – for Admins, Delegates, Directors, and even the Co-Secretaries General. Each committee had their own fun adventure with one another (like Crisis Council assassinating two delegates and inviting Kim Jong Un into the debate). For the people who aren’t in some way involved in MUN, we highly recommend that you join, because it’ll be a memorable experience.