Dimitra Perera, better known as ‘Dims’ or ‘SG’ in the ExCo is an avid MUNer who has been a part of the MUN circle for the past 9 years. Let’s get to know our Secretary-General for SLMUN 2017 much better. Read on!
Give me a brief introduction about yourself.
My name’s Dimitra Perera. I am 20 years old. I am currently studying at Royal Institute of Colombo under the University of London International Programmes where I am sitting for my BSc in Accounting and Finance. I worked at MTV for a year. Coming to hobbies and interests, I like reading books, I would suppose that I am an avid gamer as well. I like dogs and cats. I have 4 dogs and 11 cats. I hate spiders by the way.
Can you tell us about your MUN journey
I first started Model UN when I was 11 years old, I suppose. I was the Delegate of Netherlands in the General Assembly Committee for the 2nd Session of the SLMUN. It was a double delegation committee. In my next SLMUN, I was the delegate of the Former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in the GA3. Oddly enough, my chairs thought I was an Indian. In COMUN, I was the Delegate of Leichstenstein. In my third SLMUN, I was a delegate of Czech Republic in the European Union Committee, which was one of my favourite committees as a delegate. That was a very interesting year as SLMUN implemented working papers for the very first time and also introduced voting. In SLMUN 2012, I was in the CCPCJ which was a wonderful learning experience. In SLMUN 2013, I was originally in the African Union but I was switched to the Security Council and the Secretary-General for 2014, Raaliya was my chair. She was a strict but nice chair. SLMUN 2014 was my last SLMUN Conference as a delegate and I was in the ECOSOC. It was a pretty interesting MUN. After that, I was in the FSC as the delegate of Central African Republic (CAR) in the Gateway College MUN conference. I first joined the ExCo in SLMUN 2015 as the Vice President of the World Bank Committee. It was the very first simulation of the World Bank Committee in the SLMUN conference and we partnered up with the World Bank Group. It was a wonderful year. In 2016, I was a part of the Secretariat as the USG of Finance, Logistics and Corporate Relations. Coming to 2017, my 9th year as a MUNer- I end up being the Secretary-General for SLMUN!
Tell us something interesting or funny that has happened to you during your MUN journey.
When I was in the European Union Committee, one of our topics was about discussing about whether Turkey should join the EU. It was a very heated topic, the interesting moment came when one of the delegates who was talking about fish imports and exports referred to us (the delegates) as “My fellow fish.”
Tell us something embarrassing which has happened to you in your MUN journey.
I fell asleep in the Security Council during SLMUN 2013.
What is your most favourite MUN memory?
Being the Vice President of the World Bank in SLMUN 2015. It was a wonderful experience with good people and also my very close friend, Vimanga was the Secretary- General for SLMUN 2015. Another one of my close friends, Thilina Panduwawala was the USG for Conference Protocol in the same year.
What is MUN to you?
MUN for me is not just a conference. It’s something that brings about hundreds of people every year to solve world problems. It’s something that unites, something that challenges, something that helps you make friends and brings out the best in you. It’s like the first few steps you take towards diplomacy, it’s the training for you to become a future world leader.
Is there any MUNer (local and/or international) that you admire? Why?
I admire the Secretary- General for 2015, Vimanga and the 2015 USG for Conference Protocol, Thilina Panduwawala. Vimanga and I started MUN together, he is a very good friend of mine. I admire Vimanga because he is someone who inspired respect, he never let the power and the position get into his head. He was level- headed, kind hearted, hard working individual. He had a plethora of knowledge.
Thilina is another one of my close friends, I certainly do enjoy our lunches together! He is someone with great wit, always a funny person to talk to.
What made you join the ExCo in 2015?
I wanted the experience. I have been a delegate for so many years. I wanted to give a shot at being a chair. I wanted to get the whole MUN experience.
How do you feel about this year’s ExCo?
They’re crazy, that’s for sure. Table- breaking crazy! Well, they are hard workers, they are crazy, they are a bunch of good people.
Tell us a few individuals that you look up to and admire in this year’s ExCo.
Chamath and Dinal. I’ve worked with Dinal before. He was pretty much my right hand in 2016. Chamath was one of the best people I worked with, in 2015. They are great people, incredibly hard working and really good friends.
How do you think SLMUN has developed over the past few years? From your very first SLMUN conference to today?
I have lots of fond memories about SLMUN over the years. It has certainly grown from a small conference after its evolution from Simulation SAARC to what it is today, a MUN conference hosting about a thousand students.
What changes do you hope to see in SLMUN 2017?
I want to see a shift from the general heated debate where it comes to the blame game and pointing fingers. I want to see delegates bringing solutions up, being more diplomatic, challenging the norms and yet working towards the betterment of our country and the world. I want to see delegates defined, not by the borders on a map, but as citizens of Earth.
My goal for SLMUN 2017 is to step away from bias, which I plan on doing. I’m pretty sure that the delegates will see the results of all these efforts over the next few months.
How do you think YOU could make SLMUN 2017 much better?
I can be the change but rather, it is my team, the Executive Committee that will be the change. They are the change. You, delegates are the change.
Any advice to future ExCo members?
Do not let your career as a MUNer be defined by your awards. Your position as a member of the Executive Committee should never be defined by awards. Being able to be a member of the Executive Committee is a result of your hard work and dedication to change. You are now at the forefront of this change. Remember that you are no longer representing your school; you are representing the youth of Sri Lanka, your generation of MUNers. With great power comes great responsibility!
Advice to first time MUNers?
Do not be intimidated by all the senior MUNers. All it takes is that very first speech that you make. Trust me, it gets the ball rolling, from there onwards it’s like a drug. You will never want to put down your placard. Never despair, keep fighting!