KIS’s Public Speakers Jump-Start the Year

Through the chaos of maintaining a full load of coursework and a somewhat functional social life, some KIS students find the time to practice intentional argument and oral persuasion. On Saturday, September 15th, the varsity Speech and Debate team made their way to school for the first-ever, full-day forensics workshop, and MUN members for a mini-MUN conference.

The Speech and Debate captains had been planning the workshop since before summer, with the intention of gaining familiarity with a wider portion of the school. All interested middle and high students were invited to learn about speech and debate, and team members were given targeted workshops run by captains and other experienced competitors in order to gear up for the upcoming competition.

“I feel like members fully experienced what it’s like to be part of the varsity speech and debate team. I had a lot of fun teaching as well!” -Min Jun Kim (Debate Captain, Lincoln-Douglas)

Debate members ran high-level practice debates, complete with teachers who were training to judge at KAIAC. Their other activities included case analysis, using an almanac, and an “interrogation session”, where one member stood in the middle of the room as others asked questions to attack his/her argument. Speech members, on the other hand, could be spotted after lunch playing “freeze”, an improv game meant to work on performance skills and team bonding. Poetry members analyzed Sylvia Plath in a literary huddle, extemporaneous members researched current events, and more.

Mini-MUN simulated the debate in a General Assembly committee, focusing on getting the over 20 new freshmen club members accustomed to the MUN debate style. Andrew Kim (11), Sujin Park (11), Felix Lee (11), and Joshua Rhee (12) served as chairs, practicing their skills in leading a committee in debate. While the club members debated, Jin ah Jeon (11), as the SEOMUN Administrative Director General, was busy training the 7th and 8th graders in being an administrative staff at SEOMUN, explaining everything from setting up placards to helping chairs maintain order.

“Although many of the novice delegates were hesitant to speak up at first, with the experiences delegates as an example, delegates soon found their voice.” -Andrew Kim (club officer, SEOMUN Disarmament Commission Deputy Assistant President)

“I saw a lot of young minds and ideas that just need some confidence.” -Sang Kim (club officer, SEOMUN Deputy Secretary General) 

Please support the Speech & Debate team in their upcoming tournament on October 19th, as they compete to keep the KAIAC championship title for the third year in a row, and the MUN members as they prepare for the upcoming Seoul Model United Nations conference.

-Jisoo Hope Yoon (’19) & Chris Park (’19)

 

*If you have any questions about Speech, please direct them to Hope Yoon (12) or JJ Kim (12). Debate, Leanne Kim (12), Jenny Chung (12), Janie Do (11), or Min Jun Kim (11). They are always happy to help!

*SEOMUN is a leading student-organized MUN conference in East Asia for the past twenty years. KIS is hosting the 21st annual session, which is attended by over 600 students from 35 schools in 11 countries. More conference information can be found at www.seomun.org. Any questions about MUN, please direct to Andrew Kim (11), Charles Park (11), and Jiyeon Kim (11).

Why we do MUN

It is no secret that our world is rife with problems. 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?

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?

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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.

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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

SEOMUN XIX: An Achievement of Young Minds

Providing an insight into diverse student experiences of SEOMUN and the famed ICJ.

From November 24th to 26th, hundreds of students from different international schools gathered to participate in the 19th annual SEOMUN conference hosted by Seoul Foreign School (SFS). Yet, there was one evident difference—the location. For the first time, the conference was held at not the Coex but the Ilsan KINTEX center. Despite the change in location, SEOMUN remained the very in terms of endless passion, active exchange, and fruitful debate of young intellects.

Yet in the conference rooms of KINTEX were not only students participating SEOMUN as delegates to represent countries, to draft, resolutions, and to debate on worldly issues. For the conference being completely student-run, students partook in the conference with varying roles. Students took leadership. The executive secretariats as well as chairs were completely composed of students who often had prior experience of MUN. In fact, there were two media teams, Seoulite and SEOTV, dedicated solely on publishing updates on the three days of the conference by press and video respectively. Not to forget, the littleluns who have the most integral responsibilities of passing notes and counting votes are also students. Attending the same conference yet witnessing it with such varying roles, SEOMUN participants are likely to have widely different experiences.

How was your experience of SEOMUN as a ____?

General Assembly II Delegate: Elizabeth Choi (‘18)

“This year was my second year participating in a SEOMUN conference.Through this year’s conference, I realized that all the committees were truly different, not only in terms of the issues discussed but also cooperation among delegates. Frankly speaking, SEOMUN XIX was an opportunity for reflection for me both as a student and a delegate. Because the committee size was grand, it was quite difficult for me to fit in and find a place to passionately contribute my ideas. Although it was thrilling to see the heated debates and speeches among other delegates, I felt that the more the conference progressed, the more I lost my place in the committee, especially due to my absence on the second day. But don’t get me wrong. The delegates of General Assembly II were cooperative and one of the most enthusiastic group of people I have met during the different conferences I have attended. Furthermore, I noticed that all delegates, especially those in my lobbying group, had great leadership and never ceased to ask questions for feedback. I was often amazed at how supportive, confident, and bold each delegate was when he/she came up to the podium. All in all, this year’s SEOMUN XIX was a great chance for me to observe and learn from other delegates as well as a chance to look back on my personal MUN progress. I wish that next year, I can participate in a slightly smaller committee so that I can contribute more to the conference.”

Security Council President: Geo Han (‘17)

“My experience as a chair was like a culmination of my five years of experience in MUN. However, I felt the pressure of perfecting every procedure to provide the best experience for all the delegates in Security Council since they are the elites of MUN and also because this was my last conference. The level of debate was exceptionally high for all of the delegates conducted thorough research ahead of time, and all I did was guide them throughout and remind them of the protocols of MUN. It also felt surreal for me since I was in the exact same spot 2 years ago as a delegate of Security Council. It felt a little weird seeing myself in the same committee, but in a different position. All in all, I believe I can call this year’s SEOMUN the best conference I’ve ever participated in with all the helpful delegates and thoughtful co-chairs Grace Lee and Jennifer Rhee.”

Seoulite Reporter: Kristin Kim (‘20)

“As a reporter, I definitely had a much more relaxed time because as long as I handed my drafts in on time, I could go to whichever committee and watch yet not participate. Although I was a little stressed when I got writer’s block while writing an introduction for one of my POI articles, I genuinely enjoyed being a reporter. The best part was that the Seoulite room had so many snacks, so I ate a lot while I was there. Seoulite is composed mostly of SIS students, and luckily they were all very nice too, so when i was struggling, I knew that I could ask anybody (including the KIS juniors!) for help.”

SEOTV Editor: Joey Park (‘18)

“My experience as a SeoTV editor was phenomenal. Of course, there were moments where I hoped I signed up as a camera man rather than an editor, however the hard work paid off eventually. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment even if the result ended up not the way I had in mind. SeoTV offered multiple challenges, and these challenges that I faced as an editor raised the feeling of accomplishment, which I would like to experience again! Although the final video seemed to contain many errors, it was perfect to me.”

ICJ Report

For more than 4 generations of SEOMUN, KIS has dominated at one specific committee: the famed International Court of Justice(ICJ). Known for its peculiar proceedings that vastly differ from the other committees in the conference, ICJ throughout the years has come to be known as one of the most prestigious committees. Unlike other committees that discuss resolutions for global problems, the ICJ instead focuses on righting international wrongs. For example, this year the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion was the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation upon a Complaint Filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the anticipated Court Case was Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal). The set-up of ICJ is very much like that of a Mock Trial; there are advocates defending each position, witnesses that provide in-depth analyses of the topic at hand, and judges that determine the final verdict. But for the KIS ICJ Chairs, Judges, Witnesses, and Advocates, who by the way won the Belgium v. Senegal court case, ICJ is much more than just a simulation of real world problems.

ICJ President: Suahn Hur (‘18)

“International Court of Justice. The grand title of this committee intimidated me since my first experience in it as an advocate for SEOMUN 2015. This year for SEOMUN 2016, however, I had the grand honor of serving as a president, which, regardless of the committee, is a pressuring position to take in the world of Model UN. As a president, my role greatly varied from other chairs in the entire conference as I had the role of a judge within the actual court of justice. From training advocates on court procedures months ahead of the conference to ruling objections during trial, it has been an excruciating process both mentally and physically. However, watching the judges and advocates fiercely voice their opinions in the committee room was rewarding nonetheless. Close interactions between the chairs and the judges and advocates prior to the conference, which I define to be the most unique quality of ICJ, enhanced my experience from ICJ overall, and I cannot be more thankful for having been able to lead such a special committee this year!”

ICJ Deputy Assistant President: Sally Hong (‘18)

“From the procedures to the issues we debate on, the fundamental nature of ICJ vastly differs from that of other committees. This year, the judges debated on the legitimacy of a decision made by the ILO Tribunal where they had to discuss the legal identity and relationship of the different pertinent parties. They not only had to debate on the issue as a whole, but they also had to weigh the evidence that they would use to come to a conclusion, taking into consideration the credibility and possible biases. The advocates, on the other hand, debated on Senegal’s obligation to persecute Hissène Habré. Even though there were a few minor disputes and heated arguments beyond the typical “healthy, fruitful discussions”, judges and advocates were still able to see past these problems to focus on their responsibilities as “delegates” of a major international court, which I was very relieved to see.”

ICJ Advocate: Leanne Kim (‘19)

“Being an ICJ advocate was an experience that I think was vastly different from other MUN committees, because it held a different value. Instead of a standard conference procedure, we followed a mock trial procedure that grew very heated and intense. It’s especially different in terms of the specifics– the entering of evidence, objections, direct examinations and cross examinations. Though I value both standard MUN and ICJ, I think ICJ holds a different aspect of debate and speech, where you deal with a specific international dispute between two or more nations.  Overall, ICJ was an experience that was really exciting and intense!”

ICJ Witness: Sara S Kim (‘18)

“Having been a mock trial witness and through my time onstage as an actress, I was very confident of my knowledge and skills. Soon after the preparation process began, I realized that I was back at square one; I had a lot to learn after all the experience I had. The objection rules were different, an unbelievable amount of content knowledge was required, and on top of that, I had responsibilities in my own committee, Six Party Talks, as a main submitter.  Nevertheless, with the support of my ICJ partners and thorough preparation, I walked into the court room with a newfound confidence. Was it hard? Yes. Was it stressful? Of course. But do I regret it? No. Was the achievement worth all the hassle? Absolutely. The strange sensation of thrilling satisfaction in midst of palpable tension—that’s why I loved (and still love) ICJ.”

For these excited MUNers, ICJ is a culmination of months and years of preparation throughout every debate prep and theatre rehearsal. For these MUNers, ICJ is the ultimate stage where they can showcase their impassioned worldviews and their eloquent delivery. So next year in SEOMUN XX, take the time to stop by ICJ. The sight you see will leave you in awe.

Adios SEOMUN XIX!

SKYMUN Recap

We’ve got everything from behind-the-scenes to the real thing.

On Saturday, March 7th, amateur and veteran MUNers alike gathered at our familiar PAC to await the brilliant start of the highly anticipated 2nd annual SKYMUN 2015.

SKYMUN, which stands for South Korean Youth Model United Nations, is organized every year talented students at Yongsan International School of Seoul, Seoul Foreign School, and Korea International School, while other international school students partake in the conference as participatory delegates, chairs, or mentors.

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Delegates grouped together in the earlier hours of the conference in order to come up with the best possible resolutions for their respective topics. (Faith Choi, ’16)

 

This year’s SKYMUN theme was “All Our Relations,” with topics including:

  • “Further improvement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to entice its international implementation and spread to all member-states,
  • “Aiming to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal: reducing child mortality,”
  • “Measures to protect human rights during peaceful protests, combat unfair criminalization, as well as police brutality.”

 

Although a generally broad theme, it was nevertheless very prevalent to even the real United Nations and foreign affairs that are being conducted present day. If anything, this broad choice helped the delegates and student officer team remember what MUN is really all about. 

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The Executive Team Olivia Kim (’16), Clara Yoon (’16), and Min Byung Chae (SFS, ’16). (Faith Choi, ’16)

 

The opening ceremony took place early in the morning, with Olivia Kim (‘16) and Jamie Koo (YISS, ‘16) making speeches as part of the Executive Team, and our very own JaeHyun Park (‘15) as the keynote speaker. JaeHyun, as vibrant as ever, spoke passionately about the beauties of MUN, and how we, as delegates and global citizens, must work hard to protect ourselves and our peers from the ever ominous MUNritis, a symptom where:

  1. “If an advisor asks you, ‘Why did you join MUN?’ You say, with a smile, “to become a global citizen!”
  2. You fulfill “the three clause requirement by writing three awareness-raising clauses” (if you don’t get this one, ask a friend who might do MUN)
  3. You are “dozing off at this very moment, dreading me [JaeHyun] to stop talking.”

 

With the words of wisdom of the former KMUN-Secretary General in mind, the delegates split off into their respective committees, where they worked hard during lobby sessions to combine the best possible resolution for their specific issue. Each student participated thoroughly during the debate time as well, perhaps with underlying hopes to earn the hallowed ‘Best Delegate’ title of their committee.

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Secretary General Clara Yoon (’16) dashed from committee to committee, whether it was helping them out with crisis-issues, or taking photos, or delivering snacks, or printing out papers. (Faith Choi, ’16)

Behind the scenes, however, there was the executive team, the mentors, and the student officers, making rapid-fire exchanges with one another to hurriedly get committee crises in order, assuring all the resolutions were printed and snacks were delivered on time.

Just ask Olivia Kim (‘16) about the chaotic scene:

“Running, running, running, a bit of printing, and some more running.”

Sounds about right.

Crises are a special event some MUN conferences decide to incorporate into their already-fun conferences. Usually done by a selected, all-fantastic student officers/actors, a scenario is decided (for example, in the Human Rights Council, the head of INTERPOL was taken hostage by a powerful Mexican drug cartel who demanded a huge ransom for the safe return of the head), and delegates are urged to develop, under a very strict, minimal time limit, an elaborate, efficient, feasible resolution to help deal with the crises. (HRC made a one-clause resolution, which passed and succeeded.)

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A delegate in ECOSOC delivering a passionate speech during a crisis issue. (Faith Choi, ’16)

But before all of us knew it, the conference was over. With much excitement, the delegates began to fill up the seats one by one, as the presidents of the committees shuffled up to the stage to sit behind the executive team. The Closing Ceremony was graced with the speeches of all the presidents, Clara Yoon (‘16), Min Byung Chae (who ended his speech by saying a refreshing “Hasta luego!”) and John Park (‘15), who reflected his time as a member of the Executive Team last year, and as a Mentor of a committee this year.

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John Park (’15) was the guest speaker for the closing ceremony. (Faith Choi, ’16)

But Clara Yoon (‘16), had a few more words to say to summarize her sentiments for a conference that she explains has come to hold a special place in her heart.

“SKYMUN has reminded me that MUN is not about winning awards and main submitting, but to be the pinnacle of diplomacy in a room that could often [not] care less about cooperation blinded by ones’ goals.”

What more could one want out of an MUN conference, really?

Overall, it might’ve been hectic, but even as a veteran MUNer myself, I could see and feel the genuine excitement and passion many of the attending delegates felt during the course of this one day. Valuable lessons, priceless memories, and UN worthy resolutions were passed, and it is sights like this that give one hope for the future to come.

And it’s safe to say, each and every single person who attended SKYMUN defeated MUNritis for good.

Want more? Check out the SKYMUN photo gallery here!

– Faith Choi (’16)