By Sonal Randeny and Asiri Ekanayake
Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) returns for its 13th session this year on September 12th and 13th. Considering the status quo around the globe, the theme for the upcoming conference is ‘A world in conflict’; aiming to unite today’s youth to stand up against misgovernance and injustice and creating a better future for all. SLMUN 2020 will simulate the following ten committees this year.
The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), one of the main six committees that form the General Assembly (GA), focuses on issues relating to fundamental human rights and social and humanitarian affairs that affect the international community. SOCHUM will debate on the topic ‘Countering the spread of violent extremism.’
Like SOCHUM, the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC) is a part of the GA. This committee attempts to resolve matters regarding disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that impact the global society. The topics for DISEC are: ‘Discussing the measures to strengthen international counter-terrorism efforts’ and ‘Discussing efforts to curb an arms race in outer space.’
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees was formed in 1950 to help displaced communities and stateless people. In addition to refugees, the countries that choose to accept them are also affected. Considering the current refugee situation, we must ‘Devise strategies to alleviate the burden on refugees and the countries that accept them.’
Comprised of the more experienced MUNers, the Security Council (UNSC) is a competitive committee with 15 member states that discuss issues relating to maintaining international security and peace. This year’s topic is ‘The situation in Syria’ which will undoubtedly stimulate intriguing debate within the council.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) seeks to develop an accessible and effective system for Intellectual Property (IP) and reward and stimulate creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE) are IPs that contribute to cultural identity. The importance of protecting them is precisely why ‘TCEs and IPs’ was chosen as the topic for WIPO.
The World Health Organisation is a specialised agency formed in 1948 to ensure “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”. In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, we must invest in avoiding and preparing for such diseases in the future. With that in mind, this year’s topics include ‘Addressing the global threat of pandemics’.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council is the central forum for coordinating the economic and social aspects pertaining to specialised agencies and various commissions of the UN. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the global economy as well as communities all over the world. Therefore, we hope to ‘Identify strategies to overcome economic and social challenges following the 2020 COVID Pandemic’ at this year’s conference.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an autonomous organisation formed in 1957 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibit using it for military purposes. To ensure this, IAEA will discuss ‘The future of nuclear energy’ and the ‘Nuclear non-proliferation treaty.’
The Global Summit on Climate Change 2020 is a forum which will gather leading green energy practitioners from around the world in hope to support and showcase ‘Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement’. At SLMUN 2020, we will ‘Discuss and confront the economic, social and geopolitical challenges caused by climate change.’
The International Court of Justice, which serves as the main judicial body of the UN, carries an exclusive role in MUN much like its real-life counterpart. Delegates of the Courts will deviate from the usual committee procedures and have the privilege of gaining a unique experience witnessing justice in action.
As always, SLMUN strives to give an enlightening experience to all our delegates which is sure to be valuable in their journey to become capable and knowledgeable young leaders of the future.
Dinithi Gunasekera and Yakuta Dawood
Sri Lanka, a country acclaimed for its distinguished location in the East-West trade route has ample potential and the quintessential geopolitical advantage for becoming the key logistics hub in South Asia.
In reference to the past decades, the Indian Ocean has been an emerging growth pole for trading over two-thirds of global oil shipments and one-third of bulk cargo across the East-West corridors. Hence, the Government of Sri Lanka took the opportunity to further extend the maritime networks and to enhance infrastructure development, on a seemingly far-sighted pretext.
Initially, Sri Lanka had three main seaports: Galle Port, Trincomalee Port, and the largest cargo handler, the Colombo Port. However, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had welcomed Chinese investments with open arms to build a new port in Hambantota.
To build the port, the Sri Lankan Government had obtained several loans from China EXIM Bank (2007-2016) with the grace period of around five years and a payback period of 15-plus years. The total amount of loan borrowed was $1bn (£770m).
Currently, Sri Lanka is struggling to repay the hefty sum and the Government has signed an agreement to give a Chinese firm a stake in the port to cover the debt owed. This eventually raised several controversial concerns in Sri Lanka.
“We don’t like our land being given away to China,” says fisherman Aruna Roshantha. “Not just China, if any country comes and takes land from Sri Lanka, we don’t like it. The government should protect our land, not sell it.”
However, the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and China did not end after these large borrowings. Soon, the Chinese Government invested in the Colombo Port City project which is said to be the “biggest foreign direct investment in Sri Lankan history”.
To build the Colombo Port City, Sri Lanka has borrowed a total sum of US$1.4 billion from the ‘China Communication Construction Company’, a mammoth state-owned engineering firm.
Although Chinese funded infrastructure projects multiplied by the day, the Hambantota Port determines itself by its failure as predicted, which it essentially became. In 2012, only 34 ships reportedly docked the port, despite possessing one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
“It was an economic dud then, and it’s an economic dud now”, stated Mr. Shivshankar Menon, the former Indian foreign secretary.
The Port attracted resentment as the Sri Lankan Government scrambled to repay its debt, only to lease the port and 15,000 acres of surrounding land to China for 99 years. Statistically, 85% of the port is owned by China Merchants Port and the remaining 15% is controlled by Sri Lanka’s Government, dismantling the pride and the name of prosperity and self-sufficiency Sri Lanka holds dear, as the country faltered in debt.
In terms of attractive loan offers with low-interest rates and reasonable grace periods, Chinese demands seemed to pioneer on handing over equity rather than relaxation of terms and conditions. Within this deception of ownership, despite its commercial pretexts, “intelligence and strategic location of the port was part of the negotiation”, confirmed Sri Lankan officials. Concerns regarding military intervention and sovereignty infringement, in reference to China’s doings around the South China Sea, aroused more fear of a possible “trap”.
“The only way to justify the investment in Hambantota is from a national security standpoint — that they will bring the People’s Liberation Army in,” (Menon). Rightfully, Chinese Submarines were docking the harbor in considerably early stages.
Hence began the gradual animosity of the international community. The shared distaste of the rest of the world against China took a definite toll on Sri Lanka’s diplomatic relations globally, specifically with neighboring India. With China gaining control of territory suspiciously close to rival, India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway, Lanka is en-route of crippling politically.
The anxiety surrounding the concept, “Neocolonialism” and China’s “String of Pearls” – and attempts to “colonize” through financial means, adds fodder to the fire. To the world, Sri Lanka is now a country that has fallen face-first into China’s rumored “Debt Trap Diplomacy.”
Many believe that a debt trap cannot be a blessing in disguise in whatever shape or form it manifests. This is why this “debt-trap diplomacy” Sri Lanka is allegedly throttled by, is assured to end fatally.
It’s inexpedient to affirm the case of a legitimate “debt trap” in regard to the facts and figures. The case of the Hambantota Port is a prime example of not only how world superpowers make haste to attain any and available opportunity to fulfill its own ulterior motives via politically wavering nations but also the drastic repercussions of poor political judgment.
Sri Lanka’s colossal debt vexation runs far beyond China. As a nation ridden with debt, we have essentially bargained our future.
In the midst of the intense debate and resolution-making at a typical Model United Nations (MUN) conference, the International Press Corps (IPC) gives a unique perspective into the world of diplomacy. Unlike the usual committees made up of delegates who represent countries, IPC comprises of a team of journalists who are each assigned a well-known news agency.
IPC was first stimulated in Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) 2008 and has since been a consistent committee throughout the years. SLMUN 2019 saw the biggest turnout of IPC delegates yet, with 46 journalists, spanning six excellent new agencies. SLMUN, being one of the very few MUN conferences in Sri Lanka stimulating IPC, will be entertaining six news agencies in its upcoming 13th session: BCC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters and Fox News.
IPC delegates will be sent into one of the ten committees stimulated at the conference. They are required to not only report on the committee proceedings but also analyze the debate that takes place and submit a news article at the end of the day before the deadline. They are free to choose any news angle they wish given that it does not deviate from the mandate of their respective agency. They are also expected to verify the arguments made during the committee session, capture photographs to support their article, and interview a particular delegate or Chair for a quote. Additionally, they have the liberty to use mobile phones, laptops, and Wi-fi throughout the conference to assist their writing. IPC delegates should be familiar with the mandate and writing style of their news agency as well as have a basic understanding of the topic of their allocated committee.
Be it within conference or out in the real world, being a journalist is an exciting yet challenging occupation. They are the people who put who undertake dangerous assignments and go into war zones and disaster areas in order to bring the news to the public. They are the ones who decide from which point of view the story will be heard. Consequently, journalists have a huge responsibility in ensuring that the news they deliver to the public is timely and accurate. According to the Ethical Journalism Network, there are five core principles of ethical journalism one should follow when pursuing a career in news and media. As an IPC delegate at SLMUN, you also will be expected to abide by them. They are listed as follows:
1. Truth and accuracy
Reporting the correct facts is the fundamental principle of journalism. A journalist must always prioritize accuracy and verify each detail included in their report.
Journalists serve the public. Therefore, they must be independent voices and should not act on behalf of special interests.
3. Fairness and impartiality
While it is not mandatory to present every side of each story, the narrative must be balanced in order to give the correct context to the readers. Moreover, impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.
As the harbingers of news, journalists should be aware of the impact their words make on the public and how it may affect the lives of others. Be compassionate and tactful as the situation desires.
Like all humans, journalists make mistakes. When erred, journalists must hold themselves accountable and correct their errors as soon as possible.
Although IPC delegates carry an unconventional role in the MUN arena, the experience gained is unique and undoubtedly valuable. IPC provides a rare opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in the journalism field as well as aspiring writers to explore the uncharted territory of article-writing and sharpen their writing skills.
As the month of June passes by, an age-old topic that lies beneath our society’s general discussions rises to the surface. Yet, as always, it is eventually dismissed and sent back to the list of taboo topics that we Sri Lankans chose not to discuss. And what is this forbidden subject? LGBTQ+ and anything and everything related to it.
What is pride?
What pride means to a person is entirely individualistic. However, all these opinions can be assembled into a common theme of acceptance and liberation. Pride celebrates individualism, standing up to anyone who shames you and being proud of who you are, regardless of your beliefs. June was chosen as LGBTQ pride month to commemorate the LGBTQ+ community, and strengthen their fight for their rights and freedom.
The origin of pride
In June 1969, when homosexuality was still a crime in the United States, the police arrived at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City to arrest anyone who was in drag clothing or as part of the gay community. Police raids were common in the past; they marginalized and inflicted pain and discomfort on those who were “different”. However, on that day at Stonewall Inn, for the first time in history, the community rallied together and fought back. Greenwich Village, as a whole, joined hands to resist police brutality and more importantly, to send a powerful message about their frustration with the status quo for LGBTQ individuals. This particular event went down in history as ‘the Stonewall Riots’ and is the historical significance behind Pride month.
The current status of LGBTQ rights in the world
Currently, the World Health Organization recognizes homosexuality and gender identities as “normal” and not a mental illness, as most of our society presumes. Moreover, gay marriage is legal in 29 countries, and each day more and more countries recognize LGBTQ individuals and are on the path to legalizing gay marriage. But on the other side of the spectrum, many countries refuse to acknowledge this subject at all, and in some, being homosexual is even punishable by death.
Status quo for LGBTQ folk in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, there are no laws that recognize or protect the LGBTQ community. Furthermore, this topic remains entirely controversial and is never discussed out in the open. Even when politicians attempt to bring it up, it is taken as a joke, and various slurs are thrown around to shun them.
The irony in this hostile attitude is that pre-colonial Srilanka had an open-minded society, where homosexuality and even concepts such as polyamory were recognized. Our nation succumbed to our current mindset in the act of being colonized.
It is important to address that being a person of the LGBTQ community is not a threat to any other community or anyone else’s beliefs. Pride is about celebrating these individuals within their community and making them feel valid in a society that constantly invalidates them. Even though the sacredness of marriage between a male and a female was used to shun those who were different, Pride does not take away the sanctity of marriage. Pride does not hurt anyone or their beliefs. Pride simply celebrates love in all shapes and forms.
Turning a new cultural leaf
Noticeably, the youth of Sri Lanka is far more progressive in terms of acceptance than the previous generations, and are more willing to understand the movement and stand up in the face of injustice. Along with globalization, our youth engage in discussions regarding these topics and have access to information that will help them sympathize and understand topics our society refuses to discuss. Furthermore, recently, we see various organizations such as Equal Ground that advocate for LGBTQ rights as well as Colombo Pride that gives the LGBT community and their allies to celebrate themselves and their love.
If you are part of the youth of our nation, combating these issues is in your hands. Our older generations fought for issues such as classism, racial issues, and female empowerment, therefore our generation must be more progressive and even more accepting. We must be the ones to spark up the discussion that will hopefully make the future safer for everyone.
What can you do as a member of the youth
Firstly, creating awareness and starting a discussion is vital in introducing progressive concepts. Educating those around us and letting them know that being a part of the LGBTQ community is neither a mental illness, nor a sin, nor is a characteristic to be ashamed of. Especially in instances such as in all-boys’ schools, the concept of masculinity is extremely toxic. Stand up for your peers if they are being bullied, because they are not “man” enough or if they like subjects that are typically considered unmasculine. Break down those barriers that have been forced among us to degrade people and make them feel worthless. Stop using terms belonging to the LGBTQ community as slurs and insults. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement such as letting your loved ones know that they are accepted, regardless of their gender, sexuality, beliefs, etc. and that these features are a part of them, but in no way make a difference in your friendship with them.
Due to the unsafe atmosphere in the status quo in Sri Lanka, to be open about one’s sexuality is risky and challenging. This environment leads to many closeted young people being scared and feels like they have no one to turn to. They are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and fear that their families will disown them the second they find out. They yearn for a home where they are loved. If you are not a part of the LGBTQ community, this may be a hard concept to grasp, but that does not justify turning a blind eye. These are your colleagues, your friends, your family, and they deserve your compassion, your protection, and most importantly, your unwavering acceptance.
by Sonal Randeny and Sayumi Jayawardene
During the last hundred years, atmospheric temperatures have been readily increasing to the point where we are now experiencing some of the most extreme temperatures on record. This is both caused by and cause for a self-sustaining feedback loop that inevitably worsens these conditions. It’s abundantly clear that by releasing heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere, as a result of the means we have employed to power our modern lives, we’re accelerating this morbid cycle and driving our planet further towards doom. Today, greenhouse gas levels are at the highest they have been in the last 800,000 years.
Although the abstract idea of global warming and the greenhouse effect is no longer a mere hypothesis but widely credited and scientifically proven, there is still an air of suspicion and disbelief among some. Not to mention the complicity and inaction shown by the government in many countries including Sri Lanka.
There are many other factors that affect the climate besides human activity. Volcanic eruptions, varying levels of solar radiation and solar wind, the position of the earth in relation to the sun, and certain weather patterns are a few natural occurrences that cause variations in atmospheric temperatures. However, it’s clear that these are only responsible for approximately two percent of the recent warning effect. By definition, this goes to show that human activity is responsible for the remaining 98%.
Since the dawn of the human race, heat-trapping gases have been naturally absorbed through natural means, providing stable temperatures in which civilizations can flourish. However, since the industrial revolution, when fossil fuels were introduced as ways to produce energy and a precursor of our post-modern lifestyle was created, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and atmospheric temperatures have been on the rise. In the 150 years since then, humans have increased the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere threefold. This is causing processes that would usually happen over thousands of years to take place in a matter of decades. These changes occur faster than most organisms can adapt to, and as a result will pose a multitude of challenges to all Earth’s inhabitants.
In addition, climate change also causes irreversible damage to the environment. The remaining ice sheets such as those in Greenland and Antarctica are beginning to melt. This sets off a chain reaction where the extra water could raise sea levels significantly in a short time. The Global Change Research Program projects that by 2050, sea levels will rise by 2.3 feet. To perpetuate this cycle, the greenhouse gases trapped in the glaciers and ice caps will be released into the atmosphere and further exacerbate the greenhouse effect. This leads far more extreme weather patterns.
Unfortunately, it seems that we’ve forgotten our roots. Especially as a part of a culture that’s historically and physiognomically attached to nature and our environment. However, it’s ironic that we, as a country, haven’t addressed this issue due to a plethora of reasons. As a small tropical island nation, we’re far more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. We’re also susceptible to the socio-economic effects of climate change as our economy is heavily dependent on the fashion and garment industry as well as the tourism industry, two of the most environmentally destructive trades, of which, the latter is immensely more so.
However, all hope is not lost. Our planet’s afflictions may come in thousands but humans come in billions. We may doubt the impact that an individual can cause, but it is important to remember that your duty is all you can do and it is each person’s responsibility to contribute to the solutions.
By Himaya Perera and Asiri Ekanayake
Hazing, also known as ragging, is a common occurrence in state universities and is used to establish seniority within the student body. Initially, hazing was a way of eradicating the social hierarchies which exist beyond the boundaries of the university. Everybody got hazed therefore, everyone was equal. However, in status-quo, it has evolved into a display of power. Seniors will pressure freshmen into engaging in various acts, on the threat that their lives at university will be miserable if they refuse to oblige.
Hazing could include anything from being asked to sing in public to forced consumption of various substances and even inflicting physical and sexual harm on students. Once hazing gets out of hand and causes emotional and/or physical harm, many students are driven into committing acts of self-harm such as suicide or to leave the particular institute altogether. Around 20 students have committed suicide due to hazing and according to the University Grants Commission, out of the registered university students, 1989 students have dropped out due to ragging incidents that occurred in 2017 and 2018. Since the students who enter local universities are those who passed their Advanced Level examinations with flying colours and are the cream of the crop, every drop-out is a huge loss to our nation.
This topic was brought to light recently because of an incident that took place at Sri Jayawardenapura University. On March 5th, 21-year-old Pasindu Hirushan from Kamaragoda, Minuwangoda was descending a flight of stairs around 1.30 a.m. after a “bucket party” (an event celebrating the end of the ragging season) when a group of senior students had sent a tractor tire down the stairs. The tyre had hit Pasindu causing him to collapse on the ground and hit his head, causing severe damage. It is still unknown whether the seniors were under the influence of alcohol. As of now, Pasindu is paralyzed. According to medical professionals, even if he recovers, he will have many side effects including loss of memory.
The response on social media was fast and passionate. Among the many tweets, stories, and posts calling for justice, the police and the Sri Jayawardenapura University administration have launched separate investigations to inquire into the incident.
Pasindu is only one of the many victims who suffer permanent consequences of ragging. But given that this issue has existed for many decades, why aren’t effective preventive measures in place yet?
Under the Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act No. 20 of 1998, ragging is a punishable offense by law. Moreover, the UGC has set up a 24-hour hotline (011- 2123700), a website (https://eugc.ac.lk/rag/), an anti-ragging mobile app to report different forms of threat and harassment on campus grounds as well as a special office at the Commission that is open on all days from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., excluding government holidays.
Despite the governments’ and universities’ best efforts, hazing still prevails, often carried out in remote locations around campus or even in private residences that are rented specifically for hazing such as in the incident at the University of Peradeniya in 2017. Ragging cannot be conquered by merely establishing a few laws; there is a dangerous age-old herd mentality that needs to be changed to make a significant difference. In order to do so, the government and higher authorities cannot take action alone. The youth must take a stand on enforcing morals within themselves to protect their peers from being succumbed to such injustice.
Written by Nisal Abeyakoon
In late December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause was reported by health authorities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China which was later discovered by health authorities to be a newly emerged virus widely known as the ‘Coronavirus’ (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2).
The initial cases mostly had links to the Huanan Seafood Market and therefore is believed to have a zoonotic origin possibly in bats of the ‘Rhinolophus genus’. The earliest reported symptoms occurred on 1 December 2019. Out of the 1st cluster of reported cases, two-thirds were found to have a link with the wet market.
WHO response measures
On 30 January 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the sixth PHEIC since the measure was first invoked during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
On 5 February, the WHO appealed to the global community for a $675 million contribution to fund strategic preparedness in low-income countries.
On 11 February, the WHO in a press conference established COVID-19 as the name of the disease. In a further statement on the same day, Dr.Tedros Ghebreyesus (WHO–Director-General) stated that he had briefed with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who agreed to provide the “power of the entire UN system in the response.” A UN Crisis Management Team was activated as a result, allowing co-ordination of the entire United Nations response, which the WHO states will allow them to “focus on the health response while the other agencies can bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak”.
On 11 March the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak an official pandemic.
Sri Lankan Airlines ‘mercy flight’ crew brings back Wuhan students to Sri Lanka.
Amid all the chaos the virus was inflicting around the world this brave 16 member crew who risked their lives by going into the very epicenter of the virus rescued 33 students and showed us all how truly proud it is to be Sri Lankan.
COVID-19 reaches Sri Lanka
The first Sri Lankan who was tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11th, 2020 was a 52-year-old tour guide (now recovered). Within 1 week close to 85 individuals were tested positive in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam & Rathnapura and the country was put into immediate lockdown to stop the virus from spreading further.
Current status around the world
There have been more than 2 Million confirmed cases reported worldwide in which over 500,000 have been recovered & more than 150,000 deaths have been reported worldwide
People may be sick between 1–14 days before developing symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness & dry cough. Older people & people with other medical conditions are more vulnerable to this disease.
Methods of preventing contraction
Wash your hands often with soap & water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place
Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth
Self-isolate yourself from other people
Wear a face mask when you go into the public
Even though this epidemic has turned into a serious issue around the world it will be wrong to deny the fact that the media has used this as an opportunity to exaggerate the true depth of the virus and has inflicted fear and confusion among the public
As expected fingers were pointed towards China which is where the initial outbreak occurred, some world leaders even went to the extreme of calling it the ‘Chinese virus’ It was quite disappointing to see that some individuals were most concerned about pointing fingers and buying large stocks of supply than helping in however they can
What we can do as the youth
This global pandemic caused economies to collapse, people lost their jobs and loved ones.
Covid-19 caused fear and unrest among the public which drove the public into buying large stocks of supplies with no moral obligation towards other citizens who also require supplies which then caused fights & riots
I believe that we as the youth have a lot of things to learn about from this incident like how important personal hygiene is, how racism does not stop pandemics and buying large stocks of supplies a selfish act of cowardice.
check out the post below for a message from the SLMUN 2020 ExCo regarding COVID-19
By Matthew Milhuisen and Vishmika Suarez
What is SLMUN
Sri Lanka Model United Nations or SLMUN is the primary simulation of the United Nations conference and is the pioneer of any MUN related program in the country. Created to foster diplomacy, critical thinking and debating skills within the youth of Sri Lanka, SLMUN is one of Asia’s largest student run model United Nations with over 100 participating schools and 800+ delegates participating yearly for the annual conference.
At SLMUN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN; from Argentina to Zimbabwe. They debate on current issues on the organization’s vast mandate. They prepare draft resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts and navigate the UN’s rules of procedure – all in the interest of resolving problems that affect the world.
Throughout the years SLMUN has acted on the belief that a more capable and educated younger generation is the basis for a brighter future; thus, our core objective is to invest time and effort in our country’s youth to make an impact on the future.
History of SLMUN
The very first simulations were called “International Assembly” held at Oxford University which later evolved to the first MUN that was held at Swarthmore College Pennsylvania in 1947, and so on over the decades it has grown and spread to the east as well.
The Sri Lanka Model United Nations as we know today, was initiated in 2008 by Mr. Rohan Ellawala and the Model United Nations Club of Ananda College. Ever since then, a group of energetic teenagers known as the Executive Committee or EXCO take it upon themselves every year to continue the legacy of SLMUN with the aims of taking the UN to every corner of Sri Lanka.
It is the collective efforts of our Charge De Affairs, Mr. Ellawala and the EXCO that makes the conference proceedings happen smoothly each year.
What we do at SLMUN
SLMUN encourages young voices to rise and make a difference, irrelevant of their background and age by conducting workshops not only in Colombo but in Galle, Kandy, Gampaha, Kiribathgoda and Negombo as well. These measures are taken to cultivate our next generation of thinkers to be more knowledgeable of global issues.
In 2012 SLMUN broke new ground when 1,100 students from Sri Lanka Nepal, India, Malaysia and Maldives came together to be a part of conference making that a historic year for SLMUN.
Throughout the past years SLMUN conference has united the youth around the island and South Asia to tackle global issues in a diplomatic perspective.
Understanding the pivotal role our youth play in the future of this world, our aim is to train them to think out-of-the-box, defeat prejudice and engage together in an effort to formulate solutions to compete with the pressing global issues to create a safer world.
Through connecting the youth today, SLMUN hopes to create a better tomorrow.
Why join SLMUN
2020 will mark 13 years of SLMUN providing a platform for passionate individuals to tackle various global issues such as poverty, climate change, inequality and humanitarian crises that encompass the globe, giving them an opportunity to provide their insight regarding these issues while providing an equal chance to build and nurture fundamental skills such as leadership, analytical skills, public relations, complex problem solving and public speaking.
Furthermore, SLMUN promotes a process of training students to be fair solution-based leaders instead of theoretical debaters. For instance, in 2018 SLMUN took upon itself to aid the UNICEF in coming up with creative ideas to support the End Violence Campaign. More than 600 delegates committed to end any form of violence against children and to keep finding practical actions to solve this issue.
Here at SLMUN we like to instill one thing in the hearts of every student who joins us – Dream big. Dream big for our motherland, Dream big for our world.
Once you set your mind to something, if you really truly want it, you’ll go through heaven or hell to get to it. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’re in school or university, your age is not your limitation. In any case, it is your greatest strength. Don’t believe us? Have you ever met an adult who can match the fevered dedication in the eyes of a young child? Who can equal the determination of a fierce teenager?
We, the youth, complain about the world, about the state of affairs, about how the adults are handling the world’s problems, but the truth is, the future is not their world. It is ours. And we’re not doing enough. We are the ones that will deal with consequences of the action or inaction today. We are the inheritors of what exists today. What’s wrong eventually will snowball into our future’s demise if we don’t do something about it. If that’s not motivation enough, well we’re running out of ideas. If you want something done, you have to step up. Stop waiting for someone else to start the journey. Stop sitting and waiting and thinking, “this is bad”,” why isn’t anyone doing anything?” Well, why aren’t you? You can’t build Rome in a day and just like that you can’t change the world in one go.
This year, Sri Lanka Model United Nations 2019, wants to rouse the inner warrior in you. Conference will focus on the concepts of Youth Activism and Volunteerism, including the strength of the youth and what we can do; Discrimination, climate change, inequality, poverty, racism, and the list goes on. There are many topics available based off the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, it’s just a matter of what interests you, what drives you forward and what lights a fire in your soul. It is the creativity, the hope, the endless ambition and daring of the youth that can make a difference tomorrow.
Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, Greta Thunberg , Kelvin Doe … We all know these names now. But once they were just kids that believed in something and didn’t give up until their voice was heard. They set their hearts and minds on something and poured their souls into it, even if everyone around them didn’t quite agree on what they had to say. SLMUN 2019 hopes to start the same fires within our delegates for the issues they care about.
But you don’t have to become famous to make a change. There are thousands of people who work without recognition or support, who struggle to help others, to make this world a little more bearable. And they are true heroes for their effort. You don’t have to save the entire world. Even if you only help one person in your entire life, if you can save one person in the entirety that you live, that’s a beautiful, powerful existence. It could be your neighbour, your society, your district or even your nation, but you can make a difference for the better in some way. . Even through participating in debate at SLMUN you are taking part in a massive movement of integrating the youth in bringing about the much needed change today.
This is our world now. We are the future. Think beyond 2050. Why not 2090? What kind of world do you want to show your great grand-children? What kind of world do you want to leave as your legacy? Take that one step towards it. Even if it’s the smallest change, the tiniest of baby steps, that’s still progress. You can’t change the world by staying still. And you most definitely don’t make a difference by doing nothing at all.
The first workshop of Sri Lankan Model United Nations (SLMUN) 2019 was hosted by St. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia on 7th July 2019. The workshop commenced with an introductory session by the Secretary General, Dimuth Fernando. It quickly progressed with, Shaquille Balasooriya, getting the students and executive committee members warmed up with an interactive session
The topic debated was ‘Death penalty vs life imprisonment’. Many notable points were conveyed by many students such as: “Death penalty should be given to all murders however not to drug dealers because they deserve life imprisonment”, some stated that “Drug dealers should also be given death penalty as they are slowing killing people by selling drugs to them” and another stated that, “No! Drug dealers shouldn’t be sentenced to death penalty as it’s the buyers’ wish to purchase”.
This session proved two points, firstly that most of the students were already aware of the current situation or had a basic sense of what’s happening and secondly that the students were confident and strong enough to convey their message to a large group of people and this is essentially what SLMUN is.
The second regional workshop for Sri Lanka Model United Nations 2019 was held at Royal Institute, Havelock on the 20th of July from 8:30am onwards. After a brief introductory to SLMUN and code of conduct during session, the students present were divided into groups for a debate session.
The topic introduced to the students was “Should mandatory drug tests be conducted onstudents?” The assigned chairs firstly explained the laws and regulations pertaining to this topic and a few opening arguments that can be discussed through the course of the debate. While most Students agreed that this is definitely a step in the correct direction as it would largely reduce and discourage teenage drug use, some argued that this would be an invasion of privacy, a waste of resources and hinder or interrupt school programs.
Students that had attended the previous workshop spoke with more experience and knowledge on current issues. They were more confident and diplomatic when expressing their opinion. Their ability to express their ideas more effectively and diplomatically proved the success of these workshops.