Last semester, KIS MUN team attended the 20th Annual Seoul Model United Nations, many serving as chairs, some winning best delegate awards or main submitting resolutions, all taking part in the fruitful debate throughout the three days. When the three day conference closed, I—alongside 50 other KIS MUN Club delegates—left the conference venue with one lingering question: why?
Why do I go to conferences every couple of months in uncomfortable suits, ties that get in the way of eating, and ill-fitting shoes? Why do I spend time researching issues that are so far away from where I am? Why were we here when we could otherwise be lolling in bed, watching TV, or working on our AP Lang projects?
When I first started MUN in freshmen year, international and national politics were embroiled in the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Every time I turned on the TV, PBS was airing a Syria documentary, Bill O’Reilly was angrily denouncing President Obama’s refugee policy, or then-candidate Trump was campaigning in Iowa, vowing that “if [he] wins, [Syrian refugees] are going back.” We saw haunting images of refugees getting rescued in the Mediterranean, with some not making the journey—do you remember the boy? The entire world had its eye on the chaos and confusion surrounding Syria; it seemed to be the only issue that mattered.
That year, I had to debate what measures should be taken to ensure safety and neutrality of outer space. What? The freshmen I initially thought. Space? How can we waste time on such an insignificant issue when there are millions of people dying? After much research, it was clear that while there was—and still is—an obvious intense gravity to the situation in Syria, there were several serious complications in outer space that could thwart global peace and security.
The lesson: our world is rife with problems.
We wake up one day and see headlines that shine light upon the military tensions developing in the Korean peninsula; the next day, we read about the inhumanity of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar; a week after, news channels are discussing the military coup in Zimbabwe, a nation whose progress for the last few decades have been stymied by rampant corruption.
Reading about these events makes us wonder what we can do, soon to realize that we are limited to bring about conclusive change— it’s not as if we could lead diplomatic talks in North Korea or convince world leaders to backtrack on their policy decision. But that is not to say we should remain nonchalant to the turmoil around us. That’s being lazy.
Nobel Laureate Ellie Wiesel, in his 1999 speech The Perils of Indifference, warned that indifference is “more dangerous than anger and hatred” for it is an uninspired nonresponse that only aids the forces of evil in our world. By being different, we are “betraying our own [humanity].” Indeed, the perils, our perils, of indifference is too great. Are we to continue the ways of today that led to the turmoils we hear about when comes the time for us to make a positive difference in the world? How would the future be different if we—the shapers of the world tomorrow—do not engage in the global dialogue for change today?
MUN provides this outlet for discussion. We evaluate past solutions; we scrutinize the events leading to past conflicts; we analyze the perspectives involved in the making of the status quo; we propose new solutions to pressing issues around the globe; ultimately, we envision and endeavor to create a better future. In doing so, not only do we learn more about “international diplomacy at play” (Charles Park 10), we “build tolerance for others” (Jake Jung 12), “gain a better understanding of our world” (Jiyeon Kim 10), and “open ourselves for dialogue with those with whom we do not necessarily agree” (Sang Kim 11).
With this spirit, KIS MUN will be representing our school at THIMUN Qatar, BEIMUN, and SKYMUN in the second semester. We meet every Tuesday or Wednesday during club block.
– Chris Hyunsoo Park (’19)
Images: Ms. Hawkinson