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!

SEOMUN XVIII: A Successful Step Towards a Brighter Future

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.

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Guest speaker, Daejong Yoo, giving his insightful speech in the Opening Ceremony. (SEOULITE)

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.

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Chairs of the Six Party Talks discussing the resolution. (SEOULITE)

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.

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Delegate of Iran from Security Council sharing her view of the resolution. (SEOULITE)

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)