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.
Delegate Andy Byun (’17) (PC: Seoulite)
President Yumi Kim (’17) (PC: Seoulite)
SEOTV Editor Joey Park (’18) (PC: Seoulite)
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.”
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.
SEOMUN XIX ICJ (PC: Suahn Hur)
Advocate Nathan Cho (’19) (PC: Seoulite)
Advocate Leanne Kim (’19) (PC: Seoulite)
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!