The Air Force School Model United Nations Conference 2013 Post Conference Issue
in CONVERSATION Reading between the Lines: In Conversation with Mrs. Balram International Press: What is it that you find so interesting about the concept of a Model United Nations Conference? Mrs. Balram: I feel that it is our duty to provide a suitable platform to the youth in our country to debate the various issues plaguing the world today. These children will become our leaders tomorrow, and the training has to begin at the grassroots level. It is always wonderful to see students from classes 7 and 8 participate in an MUN.
I.P.: When you were first approached with the idea of this MUN, what were your first thoughts; did you think you’d be able to pull it off? Did you really think that the proposal would materialise into such a successful conference? M.B.: At first, I was rather sceptical about hosting an MUN in the school, especially as it had never been done before. I felt that the MUN was more of a political concept, and being an Economics teacher I would not be able to help. But I’ve now realised that it is impossible to view anything in isolation from Economics, so it can be said that my involvement in the Conference was inevitable. I.P.: TAFS MUN has two rather unconventional committees, namely the Mandal Commission and the Indian Economic Cabinet which have been introduced in an MUN for the first time. What was the main idea behind setting up these two committees? M.B.: Firstly, the two “unconventional” committees have been big hits! The option of speaking in both, English and Hindi, has made discussions more interesting. It was my dream to have an Indian Economic Cabinet set in 1990, as that was the period just before the economy underwent a complete change. We felt that providing Indian committees would help delegates relate to the issues at hand, and help them place the discussions in a day-to-day context. I.P.: Considering the fact that the ModMUN has grown to include about 600 delegates per Conference, what expectations do you have from the future TAFS MUN Conferences? M.B.: Quantity does not matter to me, quality does. I wouldn’t mind having a small number of delegates, but would love to see good quality debates. I.P.: Finally, how would you describe your experience as the MUN Convener? M.B.: It is a tough job, it is an entertaining job and it is a happening job. I’ve got the opportunity to interact with hundreds of talented individuals in the course of this Conference, and it has been a pleasure to be a part of the inaugural TAFS MUN Conference.
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The Beginner’s Charm All about the inaugural TAFS MUN 2013, from the conceptualization to the glitches, from the scratch to success. As the hands of the clock moved onto 8 and 12 on 17th December, the MUN society of The Air Force School witnessed momentous scenes of joy, apprehension and a sense of honour. It was the first time that they were hosting their very own Inter School MUN. It took hours of research, missing important educational lessons, ideas and a very capable secretariat. Not only did they manage to pull off conventional committees which discussed the age old dispute of Palestine and the nuclear tensions between sub-continental powers, but also came up with the concepts of two highly unique committees which were never conceptualised before. The Mandal commission and the Indian Cabinet proved to be the icing for a conference already functioning without any major hitches. The Secretary General shared his views on the journey of this conference. “Idea of TAFSMUN started on the stage of the basketball coat, where me and Sameer decided it was time we organized our very own MUN” stated the Secretary General while talking to International Press. While many challenges awaited the conference in the coming days, the Secretariat had full faith in the OC to tackle them with their abilities. The problems faced were those of great diversity, ranging from lack of pens and water to delays in the opening ceremony and shortage of placards. The only missing ingredient for an otherwise perfectly brewed conference was the lack of a recreational evening such as a social or a delegate dance. The chairs of various committees shared these sentiments as well. Many were in shock and awe with the level of debate that was witnessed, while many applauded the Air force School for such a gallant effort in organising the committees. For a first time conference, they truly burst the bubble of our expectations and the realities definitely make us want to return next here.
“Idea of TAFSMUN started on the stage of the basketball coat, where me and Sameer decided it was time we organized our very own MUN”
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We had to study a lot so we wanted to miss classes, hence the MUN: Sameer Thakur From the Secretary General’s Perspective Surbhi: On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the level of organization of your inaugural MUN conference? Sameer (rather modestly): I’d rate it at 7.5. Surbhi: Why deduct the 2.5? Sameer: The major glitch we made was delaying the tea by a little bit. Surbhi: What sparked off the thought that eventually conceived this conference? Sameer: To be honest, we had to study a lot so we wanted to miss classes. But on a more serious note, after hearing Shivam Chawla’s (Secretary General of RISMUN’13) speech at the closing of Ryan MUN, we came back to school and we were sitting on the ledge of the podium. Having drawn some inspiration from earlier that day, we decided to have an MUN. Then we started deliberating over what committees, from Harry Potter to Football, we had our ambitions soaring. We got our permissions in place with the Principal having approved of this brave venture. Surbhi: What led to the inception of the idea to simulate unconventional committees like the Mandal Commission and the Indian Economic Cabinet? Sameer: I’d credit myself for both the committees since I possess a great interest in politics myself. 75% of my MUNs are either historical or Indian committees. We always wanted to do something unconventional amongst the unconventional. Even the Indian Cabinet, one would would normally set the freeze date in 1991, when Manmohan Singh came up with the reforms but we made it 1990 because we wanted to pose the ‘what if’ question that can raise the level of debate to great extents, helping expand horizons of the delegates seeing that the reforms had not yet been discussed or executed. About the Mandal Commission, we (Syeda Asia, Hashim Ahmed and Sameer) had talked extensively about reservations in India and were always inclined towards simulating it in TAFSMUN. 4 / TAFS MUN' 13
Avikant: Do you have any advice for the participants, especially delegates? Sameer: All I’d like to say is that don’t be intimidated by veteran delegates because irrespective of the number of MUNs they’ve done, they can always be out-researched and ergo outdone. So if you put in adequate effort, nobody is unbeatable. Surbhi: What hopes should aspiring applicants have from TAFSMUN’14? Sameer: We will get you the best Executive Board, at par with the standards set this year in terms of competence. You’ll see a few same faces and but also new additions. Better committees, better infrastructure, better organization, we’ll give experiences to be savored and reminisced upon. I’m not going to give you the best socials in nightclubs. I’ll not even offer you great food, but I’ll offer you great debate. I’ll tell you from the very onset that you can’t change the world by doing MUNs, but if you like debating; TAFSMUN’14 will guarantee you a memorable experience.
Inside the job of a Deputy General
Shubhaj Poricha What is the role of a Deputy General in a Model United Nation? I am appointed by the Secretary General to guarantee that the conference is going smoothly. My work is to divide the conference into departments and allot heads to these departments and explain them their work and ensure that they are doing their work sincerely. I ensure that all the delegates get refreshments. And if any delegate, staff or any other person who is a part of this conference has a problem or complain I make sure that they get a reason and an answer to their hitch. What were the challenges faced by you while putting up this conference? They were many challenges faced by me while putting up this conference. I made a mistake by making to many sub-divisions which a created a problem. As they were too many sub-divisions it required a lot of volunteers and conference staff and we were short of them. And on the first day of conference their was also a problem with the refreshments department for which I apologized. But now it has been a swift going conference and now working more harder to assure that this conference ends smoothly.
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My resonsibility spans everything:
Aditya Sharma, Secretary General
IP : What do you think your responsibilities are as the Secretary General?
IP : Do you have any words of advice for participating delegates?
Sec Gen: My responsibility is basically… everything, in my view. From the notepad till the EB, from the pen cap till the food - my responsibility spans everything. If anything goes wrong, there is obviously a hierarchy within the organizing committee, but out of everything, when the blame starts it will eventually end up upon me because I have taken the responsibility. But at the end of the day , this responsibility has been given to me. In one sense, this whole conference is my responsibility. But I will not take any credit for it as I have an exceptional organizing committee. I had a lot of work both before the conference and plan to do a lot of work after, but throughout the 3 days of the conference the committee have not let any problem reach me.
Sec Gen : I actually started MUNing 2 years back, and having attended around 20 conferences, it has been a great experience for me and has already changed my perspective on things I see everyday. But a word of advice to delegates would be not to take MUN bigger than life. Certain delegates take it too person to themselves. At the end of the day, it is an extra-curricular activity – a very special one at that. But do not let MUNs bring you down, and if they do so , leave it; they are not worth spoiling your lives on. Though if you do excel at them, it is very exhilarating to be part of an MUN conference. At the end of the day though, it has been clichéd to some extent. Awards really do not matter – what matters is whether you’re getting pulled down or pushed up. If you are getting pushed up, then it is absolutely worth it. The main thing is that you should have fun, and you should learn rather than getting discouraged
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In The Executive Board We Trust… As the final session of the committees closed, the International Press interviewed a few members of the Executive Boards of the different committees. Against our best efforts to be formal, the interviews got out of hand and became decidedly candid. A few excerpts: A theme song which best defines your committee? It would have to be something about unity and togetherness, maybe the track from Lagaan or something like ‘Saathi haath badhana” -Indian Cabinet You favourite part about being in the EB? If I talk about this particular MUN, it has to be the FIFA games in between. Yesterday we were playing FIFA and today we’ve got Assassin’s Creed lined up, so we’re basically doing that. (laughs) -Human Rights Council Any delegate who’s stood out over the past three days? One of the delegates is wearing traditional Afghani attire. Other than that, there are a lot of cute girls in the committee. -General Assembly What’s your idea of an ideal committee? I think it’s high time that we keep committees which are a little grounded in reality and relevant to our situation. There ought to be a little contextual, not just in the manner or the structural approach or the methodology we’ve adopted, but rather in the issues we’re trying to discuss. What we’re definitely equipped is to think about things that affect us on a daily level, and I think education, inclusivity, rights of people, tolerance, and overall development. That’s what gets us on the ground and enables you to think on your feet. -Mandal Commission What’s unique about your committee? The crisis. Simply because we’ve ramped up the tension of the situation, to the point where India and Pakistan can declare war at any moment. We’re down to the nitty-gritty of India-Pakistan politics. -Historic Security Council 7 / TAFS MUN' 13
The team that we got was an absolutely brilliant one:
Ravleen Chawla Tête-à- Tête with Student IP Head Natasha: Initially, there weren’t sufficient applicants for the International Press. Did you compromise on the quality of reporters due to inadequate numbers? Ravleen: In all honesty, I actually thought that we were. But when I saw the quality of articles and news pieces that we received at the end of every day of the conference, I don’t think that it posed much of a problem. The team that we got was an absolutely brilliant one. This experience for me was completely new and satisfying. The fact that most of the members had quite a lot of experience made things much easier. Natasha: It’s The Air Force School’s inaugural MUN, which aspect of the MUN had scope for improvement? Ravleen: There is room for improvement everywhere; I don’t think any element of our conference was perfect, I don’t believe it can be. But, we can promise you a better version of everything the next time. But when it comes to the International Press, I think it should be given more importance. Now that I’m IP Head, I realize the amount of work that goes into making just one newsletter; it’s exhausting. Natasha: Being the student IP head, you must have had certain expectations from the reporters and photographers. Did they live up to your expectations? Were you satisfied with the newsletter? Ravleen: They did, till quite an extent. They really impressed me. Not implying that they can’t do better. They also need to be more punctual. I stress a lot about the tiniest of problems, so even if they used to be late by five minutes, I used to freak out. BIG TIME. It’s ironical because I’m the laziest person I know. When it comes to the newsletter, the articles were good, so were the pictures and the design and editing was in the best hands possible, I would count that as satisfying, even impressive. Natasha: Amlan Das, an extremely adroit journalist, served as the head of International Press. Was he content with the publication? What piece of advice would the both of you like to give to the reporters? Ravleen: Amlan, as far as I know him, is a perfectionist. He wants everything to be in place ON TIME. He was quite happy with the newsletter, but I don’t think you can ever COMPLETELY satisfy a person like Amlan and quite honestly if he did get happy in a jiff, we wouldn’t have gotten such an amazing newsletter. I bet Paritosh (Creative Head) and he have worked thrice as hard as I have and the fact that they are not bossy at all makes them the best bosses ever. The only piece of advice that I would like to leave you with is that never get satisfied with your work too quickly, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Natasha: Describe TAFSMUN in 3 words. Ravleen: Unorganized, Unconventional and fun.
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When it comes to the International Press, I think it should be given more importance. Now that Iâ€™m IP Head, I realize the amount of work that goes into making just one newsletter; itâ€™s exhausting.
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