Higher Education Department at SIM Recognized for Model UN Project
It gives me great pleasure to share with you all the milestone achievement of our senior students in Higher Education Department.
Model United Nations, also known as Model UN or MUN, is an educational simulation with academic competition in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
Our HED students have participated in a few competitions and on 24th September, the HEDMUN became the first ever Madressa based Model United Nations group to ever win an award in the whole of the UK when competing at the Reigate Model United Nations (REIMUN).
Our delegation representing Germany won the highly esteemed award of Most Outstanding Delegation, making HEDMUN recognised amongst many well known schools.
I am sure you will join me to extend our congratulations to the entire HEDMUN team for such an achievement putting SIM on the 'Global' map.
Please find below a testimony by one of the HEDMUN participants.
On Saturday 24th of September, the Higher Education Department Model United Nations (HEDMUN) not only achieved five awards at Reigate Model United Nations (REIMUN) but also became the first ever Madressa based Model United Nations group to ever win an award in the whole of the UK. Our delegation representing Germany won the highly esteemed award of Most Outstanding Delegation, making HEDMUN recognised amongst schools like Haberdasher Aske and the London Oratory school. This delegation included Shahrezad Gokal, Kaneez Farwah Hisbani, Mohammad Mahdi Karim and Ali Hassan Jagani. Along with this award, HEDMUN also achieved four delegate awards, two of which were Outstanding Delegate and two which were Highly Commended. Some of the most outstanding fee paying schools were represented at the one day conference with over 250 delegates present representing 80 countries. The delegates were split into 6 committees debating issues from Human Rights to care for the environment and the political settlement of issues such as the status of Kosovo and illegal settlements on the West Bank.
HEDMUN started their first training session only a year ago. The majority of delegates had never participated in a debating sessions but were passionate to develop. This manifested in their participation at their first ever conference six months ago, Haberdasher Aske Model United Nations (HABSMUN) 2016. Delegates learnt a lot from HABSMUN as our maiden conference. It inspired us to work harder and develop our skills further.
HEDMUN showed me how to structure both speeches and when to interject with points of information. It also enabled me to build confidence can be if I stop doubting ourselves and we push ourselves to the limits. Our female delegates were given equal opportunities and encouraged to participate along with the male delegates at HED. Where necessary we were given coaching sessions in smaller groups and this really helped us grow.
With the help of Ali and Abbas Kermalli, who also pushed us, we were able to gain the confidence we needed to talk not just in front of those we know but also to talk in front of people we have never met in our lives. The confidence one finds at HEDMUN is not strictly limited to MUN but can also give a student with the confidence to speak more in classes or at other events. MUN provides a student the confidence they need throughout their lives. One of our delegates, Sayed Razi Kazimi, did not enjoy his MUN sessions at school but was inspired by teaching of Ali Kermalli. He is now an active participant at HEDMUN.
Rarely has any MUN group won an award in their second conference, yet HEDMUN defied the odds and achieved five awards making both our chairs, Ali and Abbas Kermalli, very proud of all the effort they have put into HEDMUN. Our hard work and dedication was inspired, encouraged and supported by our advisors giving up their weekend afternoons and weekday evenings to train us in vital skills. This all would not have been possible yet alone even imaginable if they had not of introduced MUN to us all only just a year ago.
In addition, we also have to acknowledge Mukhtar Karim, the Head of the HED department, for enabling HEDMUN to be established and for motivating us to try harder. Without him pushing us and his strong standing belief that we would one day achieve bigger things in life, we may not have got to where we are today and the bigger things we are now aspiring for in our lives. We all thank him and look up to his motivating words to keep us going and help us achieve more. We hope we can fulfil our potential in future conferences and go above and beyond with his support in the future. We must also acknowledge all the parents of the delegates that attended for without their hard work and effort to get us to our practise sessions and to put up with us, we would not have been able to prepare as hard as we did for REIMUN.
HEDMUN was represented at REIMIN by eleven committed delegates who attended the conference in three delegations; Trinidad and Tobago, Estonia and Germany. We turned a dream into a reality and showed others that we are able to articulate our values as fully participating delegates. We certainly made our presence known by fully participating in debate, lobbying and speeches.
Shahrezad Gokal, the youngest female delegate had to say; “Doing MUN was something I never thought I’d have the confidence to do, let alone win most Outstanding delegate in. When I started, I was anxious and nervous; everyone was so amazing compared to me, they knew exactly what they were doing and how they would go about doing it. When standing in front of the crowds, I would freeze and stutter, but had to keep my main focus in mind. As I went along with the practice sessions my confidence slowly began building up. After doing my first (very nerve wracking) conference, I felt I was more aware of my aims, which helped me to focus more to ReiMUN.”
We arrived in time for the conference and were given another one of Ali’s amazing motivational speeches to prompt us for the day ahead. We entered and received our placards to start our day. We walked into our designated committees and met our fellow delegates from many schools. This is was when lobbying began and we spoke and interacted with many people whom we had never met before. I had made quick friends with two girls who I hope to meet at future conferences. I had also met a lot of other people there and was very confident as I approached all of them.
In the environment committee, we discussed topics such as reducing animal consumption, urban sprawl and the usage of nuclear power. They were all very interesting topics which lead to very compelling arguments from both sides. Many delegates participated in the debates, myself included, and questioned and probed the resolutions. As general assembly rolled around, I was sent to crisis debating to produce a resolution about an island that had been made. All the information we had was on a news report. I was among other delegates who I talked to and worked with to produce clauses. Together as a group, we produced a resolution that was debated in the General Assembly as soon as we left.
I joined my group back at our table in the general assembly to take part in debating the resolution I had previously been a part of making. As we sat there, we discussed what was being said by delegates. I was not able to speak in General Assembly as there was not much time when we debated the resolution. I hope to speak in the General Assembly in the future and set that as one of my goals for future MUN conferences.
As general assembly finished, the awards ceremony began. Abbas received an award for his chairing skills at the conference. Then came the delegate awards and Germany was mentioned for three delegate awards and one of our delegates of Estonia also received a delegate award. The end neared and the delegation awards were announced. HEDMUNs German delegation was called upon and I stood up to receive the award for Most Outstanding Delegation. For me, it was an amazing moment to stand up and receive the award on behalf of my delegation. I enjoyed it very much. I showed all the teachers and students present that a British Muslim Woman can achieve a lot in life whilst maintaining hijab.
The gavel was banged and the conference came to an end, but for HEDMUN it was only the beginning of a long, beautiful journey. We celebrated happily at our success and Ali gave us another one of his amazing speeches in congratulating us and how this is an amazing start point for us all. I wish my team the best of luck in future conferences and hope they turn out as amazing as our second conference has.
Ali Kermalli, our highly esteemed advisor has quoted; “From winning nothing at HABSMUN to winning Outstanding Delegation (1 of 3 schools to do so) in the space of under 6 months at Reigate Grammar MUN (ReiMUN) is a remarkable achievement for the delegates; some would even say they did the impossible.”
We thank both Ali and Abbas Kermalli, Mukhtar Karim and all our parents for all the hard work they put into making this possible. We also hope that other Madressas look up to HEDMUN for guidance as they begin their own MUN journeys for developing their students.
- Testimony written by Kaneez Farwah Hisbani (Participant of the HED MUN Delegation)