MUNPlanet: Please introduce yourself and your conference.
My name is Shikha Gianchandani. I'm seventeen years old and currently attending the International American School of Warsaw. I like reading, writing, debating and dancing. In the future I want to go into the Neuroscience Field. For our school's Model UN, I get to carry organize the conference as the Secretary General.
IAS Model United Nations are simulations hosted by our school's high school students. This year we'll be hosting our fourth annual conference.
IASMUN started out as a one-day event that was mainly organized by three sophomores but then blossomed into something bigger, better and quintessential. Even though relatively small it's an event where our Secretariat gives there 100% performance to not only mimic the UN, but present it as the fruitful experience it is.
MUNPlanet: This will be the fourth edition of IASMUN, and we are very curious to know how the idea of a free conference is conceived? Also, how does it sustain itself?
For our past renditions of IASMUN we were mostly dependent on our school's students. We've come a long way where we have branched out and tried to gather delegates not just from our school but all parts of the world.
IASMUN has been sustaining itself only because we've seen an increase in the number of students who are engaged in developing there soft skills, who are adamant on coming up with solutions for problems they believe can solve in the future and who choose to be globally aware of conflicts going on in the world.
MUNPlanet: The official topic of the conference is Instability in Asia. What was the motivation and reasoning behind it?
Our Secretariat noticed that in whatever MUN we attended, abroad or in Warsaw, there was a lot of focus being given to most the Western countries and their issues. Not saying that the rest were neglected, but they were not showcased the same way as the above mentioned countries were and we wanted to change that.
Subsequently, when the fourth edition of IASMUN was being announced we noted that there were a lot of interesting things that we could focus on. Thus, the theme of Instability in Asia was born. Which I'm glad was brought to life because I've seen an array of students show an interest in our MUN topic and theme.
MUNPlanet: Three committees will be held for novices and professionals. Which committees would you recommend to the beginners and which to more experienced delegate?
On instinct I feel like most will think the Security Council is probably the committee made for professionals, but that isn't true even if it is conspired that way.
Even if it is your first MUN if you pick a committee that truly enamors you then there should be no question of which is easy and which hard. All of us stand out in our own way when it comes to debating so narrowing it down such a committee would be harsh.
MUNPlanet: Human Rights Council is back. Why did you decide to include it again? Generally how do you decide which committees to include?
Yes, it's back! I'm so excited for it's return since I've firsthand witnessed and heard about all the interesting arguments passed on from HRC. Also in the past edition we had the Human Rights Council and we'd seen a lot of positive feedback, so we decided to resurrect it back. Hopefully, this year's committee will be as attentive as ever.
Our aim with IASMUN is to something bigger with it every year. So this year we increased the number of delegates and wanted to expand on another committee. But after thinking about, we decided there could be so much done with three committees that we hadn't done and so much improved. And then when it came down to choice we'd look at the committees the delegates most often picked and which they looked most forward to and that's how our three committed came into being.
MUNPlanet: The most amazing characteristic of IASMUN is that is completely free. In addition to this, it's run by high school students. How do you guys manage it all?
I'd like to mention that the secretariat and school is very supportive and is working extremely proud on this project.
Being completely honest, it's stressful. Because it isn't just inviting delegates, promoting or thinking of topics and themes it. There's tonnes of details you need to pay attention to and accomplish to make it an enjoyable experience.
Model UN simulations are one of the best experiences someone could go through. How did you decide to do MUNs, and what did you get out of it? Why should every student attend an MUN conference?
I have been to a grand total of eight conferences and I can't say I'm ready to stop just yet because it's an exhilarating experience. Not only being a delegate but also chairing - they are both great experiences.
My MUN journey began when I was 14 in our IASMUN in the United Nations Environment Programme sitting as the Commonwealth of Australia. It was my first Model UN so I wasn't very good, but by the end of it I got the main idea and knew it was an area where I wanted to expertise in.
Which brings me to today where I get to organize one and let people see it for the marvelous experience it is. I stumbled upon MUN thinking it would be an interesting experience to be "in charge of a country." But of course left thinking something else.
Model United Nations gave me an opportunity to advocate for agendas I believe in, to meet and socialize with people from different background, to become a citizen that understand the issues of the world and lastly it helped me invoke the soft skills that are quintessential in everything.
If you can identify with at least one quality above mentioned MUN is something worthy trying for you.
MUNPlanet: For beginners, what is your advice on the preparation process? What should delegates do prior to the conference in order to take the best from this opportunity?
My advice would be don't leave the prep to be done the last minute. I'd say take your time with familiarization of the topic, rules of procedure etc. If you do a little bit everyday then it will stay with you longer then trying to cram in everything the day before.
Well, if you're done with preparation process then I guess the only other thing you can do is relax. Don't dwell on it too much because you may just realize that debating will come to you naturally.
I've noticed that it's better to be laid back on the prep prior to debates since it will help you ease into the sessions. Last year when I took part in conference organized by another school in Warsaw, I noticed that those that had a lot of knowledge on the topic only showcased it in their position papers but were very hesitant to speak, whereas there were others that realized where the real problem stemmed from and took their time with it, and made the best remarks.
Also if you're a beginner and you're having problems with any of the MUN pathways there's always different websites and forums you can check out like MUNPlanet!
MUNPlanet: How can the role of technology and new communities such as MUNPlanet affect the future of the MUNs?
Technology and new communities have helped in connecting MUNer's. Since I feel like no one can understand your passion better then another person that's equally if not more immersed in it. Furthermore communities such as MUNPlanet among others show millions of people how amazing it is and break any negative stigma that it faces.
MUNPlanet: The best marketing is done by participants after an event has finished. What is one sentence you would like your participants to describe the conference with after it ends?
"A small MUN, but a strong MUN."Shikha, thank you for devoting your time to MUN Spotlight and telling us more about you, and your conference. MUNPlanet strongly advises all MUNers to check it out. Good luck and we wish you all the best!