Having sat down with a brilliant mind like Sandy, it felt only natural to ask the living embodiment of consensus for his opinion on the matter. It becomes even more interesting for me since the personification of this simulation style hails from India, the assembly of all MUN approaches in a rather rigorous frame.
So, Nikhil Goyal is a regular in the consensus grounds and his answers would be fit into a mini-podcast series instead of an edited article here. He is painfully meticulous to anything he does and is a decade old MUNer. He has survived a traditional crisis, where he ended up being dismissed from his own conference (SG kidnapped and the GA decided to take no action on the matter) and upon explaining what makes India so unique “The first and most obvious being our youth participation, ensures inflow of exceptional talent to the circuit. Secondly, there is an unprecedented number of simulations happening in every corner of this country. We don’t need to travel outside our country to understand the diversity of culture, thought and language as we are endowed with it within our Union of States.
What I do quote as an advantage above is an inversely proportional disadvantage too. The unsupervised advent of Model UN has caused a hit on consistency and quality of simulations over time and now seniority and expertise are judged by quantity rather than quality. Times have really changed over a decade, and I feel the time is right for the UNIC, New Delhi (UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan) to promote MUN Advocacy and take more active interest in promoting quality simulations, starting firstly by educating young organizers about the limitation on use of the UN emblem, a blatant disregard I see almost every passing day across social media platforms.”
You may be developing quite the traditional crush so far dear reader, but it was until two years ago though, that he participated at a respective workshop and became ever since a consensus person.
In his own words “This fundamentally changed my MUN foundation and I was surprised, motivated but also confused as to how this approach will actually work in simulation scenarios where the audience is used to a very different image of MUN (and presumably the UN).[..]The above experiences[ he lists a series of conferences] in a sense completed a round-trip journey across diverse market trying to understand how people in different regions perceive the idea and implement it.”
And when I ask him, why consensus over parliamentary approach he believes that “There is no one approach globally accepted that we can implement the consensus-based approach to. Every market has their set of procedures and we respect the thought put in developing them. The central idea of the WIMUN Approach (derived from the UN4MUN approach) is to simulate the real UN.
When you attend a WIMUN Approach event we make sure that your agendas are carefully selected from the real Agendas of the organs, our research guides (called Secretary-General’s Reports) help you understand the Background and also highlight the potential challenges so that when you meet, the real idea remains to take action by robust documentation (resolution, presidential statements, ministerial declarations etc.) which are negotiated adopting a consensus-based methodology. We are not doing anything different, we are bringing the real UN practices to Model UN. Also, the number of return participants we see at the consensus-based simulations is a healthy indicator that it's not the location but the very idea that has now started resonating with the MUN community."
Lastly, when it comes to the connection between simulations and the UN he underlines that “This question for me is a call to action and a sincere request to reputed Model UN companies, Non-Profit and For-Profit organizations to push for MUN Advocacy. There needs to be some mechanism for the Department of Public Information to acknowledge the efforts of Youth. Every year growing stacks of brilliant ideas get locked in storage rooms to be shredded eventually which could ideally be relayed to actual policymakers. Our Youth still have some years till they assume the role our elders currently occupy. let’s motivate them to keep innovating by rewarding their ideas with due acknowledgment.”
What you read is again, an edited version. Pointing out that public dialogue will result to the improvement of the muniverse feels like a cliche, but apparently is still necessary to happen. Would love to know your thoughts and remarks!