By Chandrika Manamendra (Member of the Executive Committee of SLMUN 2021)

SLMUN is one of the largest conferences in South Asia, attracting over 1000 delegates annually for the past 13 years, where delegates congregate to discuss global issues, their impacts, and what can be done to mitigate or ameliorate them, while gaining knowledge on global problems and fine tuning their speaking, negotiating, and decision making skills that play a vital role in becoming the diplomats and leaders of tomorrow. 

Walking into an MUN conference is a wholly new experience for anyone. The tense yet jovial and light hearted atmosphere allows delegates to feel far more comfortable than you expect. The social atmosphere of SLMUN is unique in its own way. No one truly knows each other at the beginning but something about writing resolutions and debating crises with and against each other brings a sense of camaraderie that one wouldn’t be able to witness anywhere else. 

Partaking in MUN is a leap of courage, but it also changes your life to a great extent. Whether it be from having the confidence to walk into a room and give a speech on a topic you may not always be comfortable with, or learning to research effectively and make the most of your limited time. Diplomacy is something that MUN conferences specifically teach you. Debating in a conference isn’t about shouting at one another and trying to prove others wrong; it’s about creating an effective and inclusive dialogue that takes to account the position that every country stands. Furthermore, a conference is one of the most comfortable places to take on leadership roles, build your problem solving, analytical, and communication skills, and help you to think on your feet. 

With the competitive spirit of youth, in many cases, a debate ensues, with new students continuously joining the fray, each individual arguing points in ways that favours the interest of the country they are representing. Through such questioning and debating, the delegates gain the ability to view issues from different national and individual perspectives, to weigh the pros and cons in various situations and to challenge the points and views of others while maintaining respect and decorum. 

To those who may have not gone to a MUN conference before, there is absolutely no need to fear your chairs because, as opposed to what you may think, the chairs strive to make the environment more comfortable for the delegates as they engage in conversation, hence allowing the free flow of ideas and solutions. Their active participation in such debates ensure mutual respect between delegates while preventing the discussions from detracting from the chief issues, and so are a delicate balance, where they give the delegates the space they need to function on their own free ideas, but without jeopardizing the overall theme of the topic. 

Since the very beginning, SLMUN has proven to be a teachable journey for all our delegates, while also being a place that brings a lot of memories. The lessons to be learnt from an MUN conference are not simply limited to learning how to speak or to developing knowledge and confidence. Through the boundaries of the conference, the delegates will understand how parliamentary procedures work and why they are important, how opinions can be fluid and subject to change, and most importantly, why change is so hard to achieve and thereby why it is so important in our chaotic world. 

SLMUN helps to shape the youth into individuals who are willing to fight for their ideas, but who are also open to new opinions. It helps them appreciate the democratic instruments found in Sri Lanka and around the world, while training them to use these instruments in the best possible ways. It is a conference that provides a safe space to voice all opinions that will help contribute to the change that we all strive for. 

If you are anxious about the conference, keep in mind that, while the first day may be polarizing, you will definitely fit right in. new beginning are always daunting but we can guarantee that this will be an experience you will never forget and before you know it, you’ll be thanking yourself for taking that lead of faith. We hope that this encourages you to embark of this journey with SLMUN.

Session XIV of SLMUN will be held on the 11th and 12th of September 2021 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo, Sri Lanka. Registrations for delegates, admins and IPC delegates are now open until the 30th of June 2021.

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