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.
Sri Lanka Model United Nations, best known as SLMUN, is a simulation of the United Nations. In 2008, Sri Lanka Model United Nations was born and in 2019 it stands as the largest student run Model United Nations in the whole of South Asia , accompanying over 10 committees ,100 schools and 1000 delegates.
The IPC was initiated in 2008 and since then it has succeeded in providing all ambitious writers firsthand experience of international journalism. In 2018 , the IPC recorded the highest delegate count with 50 journalists. This was a result of the guidance of the Under Secretary General of News and Media Muqaddasa Wahid and Editor-in-chief Amana Iflal along with the assistance of the News and Media Team of 2018. The IPC will be headed by Shenali Perera for SLMUN 2019 with the assistance of the Director of News and Media Amana Iflal and Editor in chief Chethasi Kudagamage.
As an IPC Delegate one will be allocated to one of the news agencies present at SLMUN and they will be given the chance to be a part of a mock UN committees hosted by SLMUN.
Reporters of the IPC will not merely report the council proceedings. It is not an agenda reporting but more of a debate analysis. IPC delegates will listen and analyze the debates in their respective committees and present articles at the end of each day. The delegates are given access to use their laptops, cameras and recorders to aid their article. What is expected of an IPC delegate is to deliver an article comprising these debates from any angle they have chosen within the mandate of their news agency. This may sound simple yet practically it could be quite tricky. As an inherit journalist, when reporting on these international politics to the general public, the greatest challenge is to stay unbiased of one’s personal opinions . What journalists actually do is distorting the information at their disposal in favor of the biases of their news agency. E.g.: Al Jazeera journalists will compose their articles in favor of Middle Eastern nations.
The aim of introducing the International Press Corps to SLMUN was to encourage and develop the skills of those who look to pursue a career in journalism or even just to sharpen their skills as writers. The articles of the delegates are marked and graded by the experienced panel of the News and Media Team using a standard marking scheme. The delegates are entitled to many awards such as the Most Outstanding News Agency and Best Journalist.
Overall, the IPC has the effect of creating an environment where the main intent lies in optimizing one’s gathering, assessing and presenting news. The IPC not only enables delegates to weave information into a newsworthy sensation but also allows it to be conveyed in such transparency that it helps delegates understand people’s sense of justice.
Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) is the largest youth simulation of the United Nations in South Asia. At SLMUN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The students, better known as delegates, 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.
At SLMUN one would witness a range of different skills displayed by both novice and senior delegates. Such success displayed is a collective effort of a variety of skills, tactics and preparation.
Firstly, to be successful as a delegate it is vital that one realizes why they are taking part as a delegate. A fundamental aim of SLMUN is to create a platform for the younger generation to foster diplomacy, critical thinking and debating skills and this is achieved through debate centralized around problems drawn from current global headlines. MUN is not merely debating on a given topic. To highlight your voice, it is important that you project significant passion towards such global issues. Lack of passion is merely a public addressing, and such would not be recognized as a good delegate within the MUN arena.
Prior to the Conference, it is customary that the delegates engage in research. Once notified of the respective committee topic and country, it is mandatory that proper research is carried out. Research, by definition is the investigation and study of sources in order to establish facts and reach conclusions. Some delegates tend to just print out volumes of unnecessary content and this is a common malpractice that is seen in the present times. To bring oneself to perform quality factual debate it is advisable to first research on the committee topic to obtain a more generalized meaning ; this can be achieved through researching on the specific key or tactical terms expressed in the topic. Once a common understanding is achieved, one can research on the stance one’s country has on the topic. This can be achieved through seeking answers for 3 basic questions as “Does this country support this topic?” , “What is this country doing regarding this topic?” and “What is this country planning on doing regarding this topic?”. Answers to these questions can be found by reading up on government websites and publications, Country’s history and social statistics, Treaties signed, Constitutions passed as well as active NGOs. A tactic used by many experienced delegates is, rather than merely researching on one’s country also researching on the happenings of other countries as well. This capable one not only to engage in debate at all times during session but also device tactical loopholes to question rival country’s stances. This shows that one has valuable input to the debate thus raising their chances of getting recognized.
If asked from any senior delegate a prominent advice given to novice delegates would be “Raise your placard”. Many delegates tend to complain about not getting recognized. To achieve this it is vital that one raises their placard at all suitable times. With appropriate research backup and charismatic speaking skills one should be able to participate in debate at any given time than just when session is focused on one’s country. The more the placard is raised, the higher the probability of getting recognized. This also labels one as active, informed and worthy of being recognized. It also allows the delegate to be attentive to what the other delegates have to say and avoids one from zoning out during session. The more one speaks the more points that are gained and also improves one’s speech. Imposing oneself as a threat is not a crime in the MUN arena but a way to success. When a delegate keeps up their momentum of speech this allows them to mark their presence within the committee and also to drive the debate to suit their facts, conclusions and resolutions.
Like any other event one cannot perfect themselves for awards overnight or through just a single conference. The final tip guiding one to be the best delegate would be; keep practicing. Specially as a novice delegate it is important one keeps up the momentum of speaking. MUN is an art that can be perfected through practice. Engage in every single possible practice session; be it at school or just among your friends. The more one puts themselves out there and speak the better and more comfortable one gets in public speaking, self-confidence and innovations. Through practice one learns to be creative and practical in creating resolution. Through practice one gains self-confidence and skill to succeed speaking in front of a large audience. One may have witnessed delegates winning outstanding awards at conference that is a result of perfection through practice.
To help delegates with this, the Outreach Team of SLMUN organizes a variety of workshops around the nation. At these workshops one is able to clarify any doubt on procedure and research, sharpen public speaking skills and resolution writing with direct exposure from the best MUNers in Sri Lanka. Through such activities, the Executive Committee of SLMUN 2019 hopes to uplift every single delegate and guide them to the path of becoming the best possible delegate.
Sri Lanka Model United Nations is a platform created to foster diplomacy, critical thinking and debate skills within the youth. In 2008 Sri Lanka Model United Nations was born, and in 2019 it stands as the largest student run Model United Nations in the entirety of South Asia. At SLMUN, the core objective is to nurture a sense of diplomacy and negotiating skills within the youth to create true, fair and solution-based leaders. Throughout the year, the Executive Committee organizes a variety of workshops around the island to prepare students to excel at the conference. Visits are made to schools to provide training in MUN research, public speaking, resolution writing, leadership and conference management. These workshops have been a fun, easy and effective way to get started in MUN. The committee members have travelled from Moratuwa to Negombo and all the way to Galle to help students prepare a step by step process to become an efficient delegate. This year SLMUN adapts the theme, “Youth Activism and Volunteering” and all workshops will be aimed at promoting this theme.
SLMUN is a great experience that every student must experience. It allows students of many backgrounds to represent different nationalities and learn about their culture and broaden their knowledge . The workshops will train the delegates with strategies that will help personal growth and trigger self-confidence. It is an opportunity to interact with like minded individuals and become acquainted with global issues.
The Outreach team succeeds in hosting numerous outstation workshops in regions such as Negombo, Kiribathgoda, Kandy, Gampaha, Galle to show students what SLMUN is and the purpose it serves. In light of this year’s theme, Youth Activism and Volunteering, SLMUN plans to initiate MUN in schools which do not yet offer this facility to their students.
The most anticipated of all workshops is the Main Workshop during which the delegates will be given the opportunity to get briefed on committee topics and clarify their inquiries with their respective chairpersons. This workshop would be the platform to meet the entire Executive Committee and meet your specific chairpersons for the very first time. This is a powerful insight for the young delegates to come together to listen, negotiate, collaborate and then offer solutions to some of the most pressing issues. Moreover, delegates will be educated on the procedures of MUN alongside an improvised committee session. The improvised practice debate will be invaluable to understand the momentum of expected debate before the Practice Debate and conference.
The International Press Corps (IPC) workshop will also be held parallel to the Main Workshop, enlightening aspiring journalists to explore the fundamentals of journalism. The workshop will be conducted by veteran journalists and IPC delegates will be able to address their queries to either the IPC head table or to the journalists themselves.
Furthermore, the delegates attending the workshop will get an insight of what Sri Lanka Model United Nations is. By the end of the session they are aware of the rules and regulations, the terms and conditions, the protocols and the proceedings of the conference. Students get knowledgeable on the conference and the practice debate topics, as it is explained by their respective chairs allowing debate on the practice sessions and conference to be efficient and productive. It is an ideal opportunity for novice delegates to get familiarized with both committee proceeding as well as other fellow delegates with whom they will be debating alongside at conference.
The underlying objective of conducting these workshops is to guide students from different regional, cultural and social backgrounds to sharpen their public speaking skills and infuse a sense of diplomacy to their resolutions in solving global issues. This year the ultimate goal is maximising youth involvement and uplifting them to the realisation of the root level problems the world is facing currently and persuading them to find solutions by negotiating with other delegates for the sustainable progression in future.
Sri Lanka Model United Nations is the best platform for students to showcase their talents through debating and creating resolutions for the betterment of the future. It is a guarantee that post-conference each and every delegate feels a sense of achievement and intellectual growth. If you’re a first time MUNer do not let fear overtake your capabilities, our workshops will train and guide you to bring out the best delegate within you. Hesitate not to speak up and participate in debate or inquire your doubts at our workshops.
Many of you might have heard of Sri Lanka Model United Nations or as many people call it SLMUN, but what is SLMUN? What does this student run simulation of the UN actually do?
SLMUN has been in the Model United Nations arena for over a decade now. A constant series of questions that are asked about it are, ‘What is our aim?’, ‘What are we trying to achieve through SLMUN?’, ‘How is SLMUN different to any other MUN related programs?’, and most importantly, ‘How are we making a difference in the world?’.
A fundamental aim of SLMUN is to create a platform for the younger generation to foster diplomacy, critical thinking and debating skills. SLMUN, throughout the years has acted on the belief that a more capable and educated younger generation is the basis for a brighter future. Therefore, at SLMUN, the core objective is to nurture a sense of diplomacy and negotiating skills within the youth to create true, fair and solution-based leaders.
In 2008, Sri Lanka Model United Nations was initiated by Mr.Rohan Ellawala and the Model United Nations Club of Ananda College, and in 2019 it stands as the largest student run Model United Nations in the entirety of South Asia. Every year an energetic group of teenagers, known as the Executive Committee of SLMUN, take it upon themselves to keep the legacy of SLMUN going. It is the collective efforts of our Charge D’ Affairs, Mr.Ellawala and the Executive Committee that makes sure that the Conference proceeds smoothly every year. This is a result of the clear-cut aim of SLMUN; investing time and effort on our younger generation to move forward as a society. Many people around the world serving the country or their workplaces in high capacity are a testament to the impact SLMUN has had on their lives.
At SLMUN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The students, better known as delegates, 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.
Before playing out their ambassadorial roles in Model UN, students research the particular global problem to be addressed. The problems are drawn from current global headlines. Model UN delegates learn how the international community acts on its concerns about peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and water, economic development and globalization.
SLMUN encourages young voices to rise to make a difference, irrelevant of background and age. Past Executive Committee members and past delegates alike take pride in pushing the delegates to dream big. Dream big for themselves. Dream big for their motherland. At SLMUN, social status, financial status, family background is completely irrelevant and equal opportunity is given to everyone.
Apart from consistently being successful in providing a unique and innovative experience of diplomacy and debate to delegates, SLMUN has managed to harness and channel the energy within the conference into tangible social work through CSR projects – ‘One World’ and ‘Diplomatic Sri Lanka Initiative’, as a mean of creating future diplomats in the rural and urban areas of the Island. In addition to this SLMUN conducts many workshops around the island.
How is SLMUN different to any other MUN related program?
Firstly, SLMUN is the pioneer of any MUN related program in the country. SLMUN is in the process of training their delegates and members to become more of solution-based leaders rather than debating about just the theory. For instance, SLMUN 2018 took it upon themselves to aid UNICEF to come up with creative and out of the box ideas of how to stop violence against children in schools. Delegates not only came up with solutions but also agreed to maintain discussion about issues like this and guide these solutions to action.
When asked from many students what they want to do with their lives, a considerable amount of them will say they want to change the world. What does this mean? Can we really change the world? Or is it a cliché that everyone says but does nothing about? For SLMUN as an organization, this idea is a concept we hold dear to. One may ask how exactly is this organization achieving this? It is for all the reasons mentioned above.
Fundamentally, SLMUN believes that if we raise righteous, educated and capable young leaders we will truly be able to change the world.
Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) is a platform created to foster diplomacy, critical thinking and debate skills within the youth. In 2008, SLMUN was born, and in 2018 it stands as the largest student run Model United Nations in the entirety of Asia. At SLMUN, the core objective is to nurture a sense of diplomacy and negotiating skills within the youth to create true, fair and solution-based leaders.
Under the central theme ‘Redefining Global Diplomacy’ the 11th Session of SLMUN was held from the 30th August to the 2nd of September at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall. At this conference one would have witnessed the potential of many youngsters to be impactful journalist, inspirational speakers, businessmen and businesswomen, lawyers, and yes even politicians! The 3 days of conference gave the delegates a framework to improve their diplomatic thinking skills and guide them on a path of being solution-based leaders regardless of background and age. What was truly remarkable was the discipline and maturity that was shown through young leaders. Through connecting the youth at the conference, SLMUN hopes to create a better tomorrow.
This year SLMUN partnered with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to promote the End Violence campaign. Representatives of UNICEF showed the delegates the need to end bullying and ragging and any form of violence against children in school. This was an issue that many delegated related to and was particularly passionate about finding solutions. More than 600 delegates committed to end any form of violence against children and to keep finding practical actions to solve this issue.
The success of the conference rested upon the competent shoulders of the Secretary General, Venuri Kalinga with the help of our Charge D’ Affairs Mr Rohan Ellawalla whose commitment to SLMUN is commendable as it’s not always the easiest of jobs to take care and guide a bunch of teenagers.It is safe to state that the conference would have been a less that what it was meant to be if not for Ms Kalinga and Mr Ellawallas constant guidance and direction. Ms Kalinga along with the Secretariat which comprised of Dimuth Fernando – USG of Administration, Alanna Gunasekara – USG of Conference protocol and committee affairs, Ashen Lowe – USG of Finance and Muqaddasa Wahid – the USG of News and Media was responsible for upholding an even higher level of standard.
SLMUN is known for reaching out and spreading awareness about diplomacy throughout the country. As such, in the year 2018 they held workshops in Galle, Kandy, Gampaha, Kiribathgoda, Negombo as well as Colombo. Before the conference there were two practice debates held on the 11th and 18th of July at the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology, Hyde Park, Sri Lanka and the main workshop was held at Ladies College, Colombo on the 5th of August.
Moreover, SLMUN had two partners in the year 2018 : UNICEF and UNESCO. The main sponsor of the conference was Port City and the print media sponsor was Wijeya Newspapers and the official youth magazine partner was the Chokolaate Magazine.
During the 3 days 8 committees were simulated, namely; General Assembly Plenary chaired by Shashindra Jayakody, Amasha Samarasinghe, Dasuni Jayawickrama and Vishwa Caldera; United Nations Environmental Programme headed by Randula Abeyweera, Varuni Muthukutti and Manilka De Fonseka; Security Council chaired by Chalaka Wijenayake and Sanudi Battage; United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund chaired by Malaka Samarasinghe, Meleeza Rathnayake and Nuwani De Silva; United Nations Human Rights Commission headed by Yasith Amarasinghe, Andrew Gooneratne and Kividi Koralage as Rapporteur; Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific headed by Ibrahim Bin Iqbal and Shaquille Balasooriya; International Organization for Migration chaired by Shimar Ahamed, Sidrah Yooseph and Afra Azhar and World Intellectual Property Organization chaired by Roosindu Peris and Shaamil Shakeer.
In addition, International Press Corps was simulated for the 4th year recording the highest number of delegates yet. The committee was headed by Amana Iflal who was Editor in Chief and Muqaddasa Wahid. The rest of the team consisted of Leon Abeykoon, Matthew Milhuisen, Bevan Perera, Shenali Perera, Anjalee Ranasinghe, Chethasi Kudagamage, Sasanka Meegamaarachchi, Kaif Sally and Jonathan Cruse. The annual magazine -’The MUNer’- was also published by the News and Media team for SLMUN 2018.
The Director of Logistics for the conference was Yuvin Premarathne while Chamoodi Gunarathna was his deputy. Tharuka Cruse was the Director of Public Relations, Shamin Fernando: Head of logistics, Sahan Dharmasena: Head of Operations, Giovanni Fernando: Head of Technical Affairs, Kishan Kumar: Head of IT and Design, Erron Ragell: Head of Admins, Dushan Wanigasinghe: Head of Outreach, Amasha Fernando: Head of Accounting and registration, Senuki Devangi: Deputy Head of Operations, Lankanath Gunawardhana: Head of Control Room, Yashodha Warnakula: Head of conference coordination and Shevan Mendis who was Head of Finance.
In conclusion, the conference as a whole can be summarized through the words of Barack Obama who says, “in a world of complex threats, our security and ou r leadership depend on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy”. The delegates if anything learnt to solve issues of global importance in a diplomatic manner. SLMUN encouraged young minds from all over the country, creating in them a need to find solutions and a burning desire to take every possible small step towards global peace and unity.