I always enjoy talking to people, especially when they have answers to questions that others would prefer to conveniently ignore. For my first interview ever, I had the pleasure to talk with Maxton Scotland, SG of this year's FWWMUN and I believe his answers are very interesting to read.
Dear Maxton, introduce briefly yourself to our readers:
My name is Maxton R Scotland from the United Kingdom. I am actively involved with youth development on a global scale, even at the UN level. I served as the Secretary-General of the inaugural Future We Want Model United Nations Conference, 2018.
You are already involved in the UN's activities. Was it easier for you to run a MUN based on your UN past?
Yes, this particular MUN was necessary, given the large scale of diversity, especially interested young people who would not have had a chance otherwise, to visit the UN.If so, which particular aspects of your tenure as SG of FWWMUN have improved thanks to your practical background? MUN is necessary and promotes the UN and its vision to students and young professionals around the world. It serves as a tool for our generation to understand and appreciate all commonalities, cultural and language differences, which ultimately reinforces what the UN is about. As SG of the conference, my leadership and diplomacy skills, was tested to the maximum. However, with an amazing team working with me, we became more resilient and worked together to ensure that the delegates and Faculty advisors, had an amazing experience in NY.
FWWMUN created an explosive interest in the MUN community especially for the number of scholarships that were offered. Could you elaborate on the logistics that made it possible?
FWW created a huge stir within the MUN community. It also inadvertently exposed the length at which some organisations will go to use their influence in undermining another, without considering the ramifications of ill-thought out actions. For those who followed the story and were able to pick up the breadcrumbs out of all the ‘noise’ online, you would have noticed that while the main MUN organisers went on an online campaign to destabilise FWW (by any means necessary), none were interested in coming to the table to discuss issues internally. When I took on the role of SG, I saw the online postings and the first thing I asked myself was this: why would responsible professionals whom are involved in or promoting diplomacy and the UN, are not resolving issues constructively... Prior to offering 1500 scholarships, the organisers were sending large delegations, at times in excess of 1200 students to conferences run by the same organisations that are working against FWW. After the fallout, the Italian Diplomatic Academy (IDA) realised that instead of paying exorbitant hotel fees and buying ludicrously priced packages, the money could be re-invested to offer scholarships to persons who otherwise could not afford a flight and living expenses in one of the most expensive cities in the world. And yes, every single 1500 scholarships were granted, and it made it possible for young people from very far countries such as Burkina Faso, Fiji, and Australia to attend the conference.
Any highlights during the conference that you would like to share?
My team and I spent months leading up to the conference, doing damage control, given the publications online. However, this did not stop them from trusting me as their leader to make decisive choices in the interest of the conference. Even in the face of adversity and sleepless nights, they turned up and delivered. It was a task getting everyone in through security on time, given that another conference was taking place simultaneously, at the UN. Notwithstanding the evident nepotism, direct and indirect attacks, my team adapted to the situation at hand and ensured the conference was a success. My team consisted of an amazing group of International young people and Rotaractors. They made everything possible and I cannot thank them enough for their unwavering support and belief in the conference. With all that was happening around us, the Chairs and Senior Secretariat persevered and, unknowing to us at the time, all this was doing, was strengthening our resolve to prove that no amount of bullying will stop a dedicated team of young people from going for what they want. And essentially, this was my message to all the delegates, ‘do not be afraid to take what you want and make things happen…’
FWWMUN took place inside a UN office. Do you believe that for future references, MUNs should focus on venues like that or a change in the RoP would be more interesting?
It is important for MUNs to take place at the United Nations, both in Geneva and New York, where possible. It gives the delegates that added sense of purpose, and a level of appreciation from within the UN itself. Whilst the main RoPs used in MUN uses parliamentary procedures, which the UN does not use. The new UN4MUN approach is catching up within the MUN community. This reflects a better understanding and use of UN procedures.
Which are your future MUN plans?
My future within the MUN circle will be limited to more administrative roles. I want to see the United Nations, engaging MUN on a more proactive basis. I will be spending a significant amount of time lobbying the UN to have a dedicated team supporting MUN initiatives on a global scale. We have just launched the FWW training workshop 2018, which will take place in July. The aim of this workshop is to engage MUNers on UN Best Practice for MUN and most importantly, how the UN works. The training will be delivered by UN officials and youths with significant MUN experience. This will be 3 days of workshop and training, followed by 2 days of Model UN simulation.
Thank you for your time!
(c) FWWMUN/twitter page.