Although the start of Thanksgiving Break marked college essay writing for seniors and vacation time for the underclassmen, a few hundred students from around the world took this time to gather at the Coex Convention Center. No, it certainly was not to entertain themselves, but instead, to represent countries and to debate on pressing, worldly issues. They arrived with fervor to participate in the 18th annual Seoul Model United Nations (SEOMUN) conference, proudly hosted by Korea International School.
Familiar and unfamiliar delegates from various schools immediately filled up the seats of the Grand Ballroom, patiently waiting for lights to appear on the stage. The opening ceremony began with an introductory video by SEOTV, followed by speeches from each executive secretariat members. As is tradition, SEOMUN’s keynote speaker this year was Mr. Daejong Yoo, Director General for International Organizations from the MInistry of Foreign Affairs. He and Ban Ki Moon used to closely work together — “He was Mr. Moon’s right hand at one point,” Secretary General Olivia Kim (’16) explained. In his speech, he accentuated the significance of this year’s theme of “Freedom from Fear”, connecting such topic to recent incidents such as terrorism.
Followed by speeches from adviser Mr. Farley and editor-in-chiefs of SEOTV and SEOULITE, Secretary General, Olivia Hajung Kim (’16) made her way to the podium for a few wise words:
“We’re connected on so many different levels. We’re born with the full capacity to empathize, born with the natural inclination to care for one another, born with the irresistible desire to understand and help one another, born to live on one another’s welfare, one another’s happiness, and not by one another’s misery or failure. It’s up to our will, and it’s up to our conviction. We can make a difference. As trite and commonplace as it may sound, the podium is yours, so go ahead and take it.”
At last, the sound of the gavel marked the beginning of the three day journey of SEOMUN 2015.
Centered upon an overarching theme of “Freedom from Fear,” all thirteen committees of the conference were assigned varying global issues all with unifying aims. Many issues emphasized the vital need of government transparency and the protection of civil rights. Then, it was the duty of the delegates to dissect these issues from inside out—to tackle the issue through the various perspectives of the various countries they came to represent. Keeping this responsibility in mind, all delegates passionately engaged in lobbying sessions right from the first day to cooperate in formulating original, pragmatic, and creative resolutions.
After hours of collective drafting, delegates began debating, critically discussing the plausibility of each resolution. Regardless of the years of experience, all delegates bravely took the podium, proposing ways to attain peace in the international community.
In addition to debating upon resolutions formulated by delegates prior to the conference, each committee was also confronted with unexpected crises, ranging from Ban Ki Moon being captured by ISIS in the Security Council to Kim Jong-Un declaring the invasion of the Republic of Korea in the Six Party Talks. Each crisis was performed by members of the student officer and the executive teams, and it became pretty clear that these veteran MUNers had more up their sleeves than just debating and public speaking.
For all delegates, chairs, and secretariats, regardless of the roles they played, SEOMUN XVIII was definitely an indelible experience. Young minds were able to explore prevailing issues and gain a broader view of the international community, as well as make unforgettable memories with new friends. More inspirational than it has ever been, this year’s distinguished SEOMUN conference came to a very successful end.
Anticipating the next wonderful SEOMUN conference, good bye, SEOMUN XVIII.
– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)
Edited by: Faith Choi (’16)
Featured Image: Jaye Ahn (’16)