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.