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A Strong Beginning for BHAMUN

A Strong Beginning for BHAMUN

Rachel Briard,
MUN Supervisor and MYP Language & Literature

 

On May 3, 140 students participated in the first BHAMUN conference. There were a total of five committees chaired by Grade 8-10 students from the four schools in the GEC. Two were geared toward newer delegates, while the other committees targeted more experienced students. The day was full of both adversity and laughter as students discussed global issues and developed new friendships. As the closing ceremony came to an end, the Executive Board of student leaders watched as students left exhausted, but happy.

BHAMUN was first conceptualized in November of 2022, when Grade 9 student Diane Seyeon Lee proposed a Model United Nations (MUN) conference at Branksome Hall Asia. 

MUN is a competitive program. With a strong focus on public speaking and debate, MUN encourages students to negotiate real world issues through diverse perspectives. Participants take on the role of delegate within a committee led by a chairing team. Both delegates and chairs are required to spend hours preparing materials ahead of time. Months in advance, the chairs write a background guide on a chosen topic. Delegates then use the background guide to research the topic from the point of view of their role. 

This academic rigor of MUN in addition to the heavy participation of senior school students at most domestic and international conferences can make it daunting for middle school students. With that in mind, Diane and I began our discussion around creating “BHAMUN" for Middle School students. 

We had two main goals. First, we wanted to provide an opportunity for beginner, elementary, and intermediate delegates from Grades 6-8 to participate without the fear of being overshadowed by towering Grade 10-12 students. Second, we wanted to train the next generation of MUN leaders by recruiting and pairing experienced chairs with new, inexperienced chairs to provide more students with mentorship opportunities. 

We recruited our leadership team in mid-December and spent the subsequent months planning the logistics: How many students could participate? What materials would we need? What spaces could we use? How could we make our conference unique? Before we knew it, May 3rd arrived. 

Diane is to be commended for all her hard work as Secretary General in managing the communication with students across the GEC, managing our procurement of materials, and patiently problem-solving prior to and during the live event. Our delegates, too, did well, and most of our Branksome Hall Asia students are excited to try MUN again next year. This was a strong end to the year, and we look forward to the opportunities in the 2023-24 school year.