HK British Parliamentary Debate 2017 (SDC BP)
This was my very first debate tournament—when I tried out for Forensics, it had only been my third time debating. Though debate and MUN are similar in some ways, in others they are drastically different. I hated the way all debate was impromptu; the 15 minutes of prep time always seem to fly away so fast, and before I even know it I’m at the front arguing for my case. I dread “point, ma’am”s but I know I must take them to show I am a strong debater.
With only 13 days and 7 school days to prep for the tournament, all three teams (of two) were in a frenzy. The week leading up to the debate tournament, we practiced every day. I knew I was one of the weakest debaters there, being one of the beginners. So after every meeting, I’d practice debating with prompts I found online.
From the time that I tried out for competitions to the actual tournament, I could tell that I had improved. I was faster at coming up with ideas and points; I was more confident at the podium; my notes for my speech had become more and more concise; arguing logic helped me through difficult POIs.
At the debate tournament, two out of three teams got through the break round and made it to quarterfinals, and one made it to semi-finals. Though we weren’t able to go to Oxford to compete, I am still extremely proud of all of us. SDC BP was definitely an amazing kickstart to my journey as a debater.
November 18, 2017. I can’t think of a better way I could’ve spent my Saturday.
TAS Model United Nations 2017 (TASMUN)
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE: MOST CHARISMATIC AND MOST RESEARCHED SUPERLATIVE
Being my third conference, I was confident in my abilities as I walked into the room, and felt no nervousness whatsoever as I sat down in my seat, representing Argentina in the Environment Committee. I encountered shy delegates, but I was able to put myself in their shoes, as I was once them. This time, along with the confidence, I felt a sense of belonging and also saudade towards the end of the conference, because this TASMUN conference was going to be my last one at TAS. My journey started here, but I didn’t want it to end.
That’s why I made it my goal at this conference to speak less. Not more, but less. Ironic, I know. I knew I was considered one of the stronger delegates in the committee, it being my third conference and having the excellent preparation and training that TAS gives you, added on to additional tips taught from mentors from being on a travel team. I wanted to bring as much to this conference as possible, yes, but I also wanted others to have a chance to learn as I did. So I didn’t spontaneously raise my hand to be the main submitter as before. I didn’t always make a POI that would counter the heart of the resolution. Instead, I would offer my opinion, pass more notes to help allies gather more votes and answer difficult POIs, and help other resolutions and individuals during lobbying after polishing my own resolution.
And surprisingly, to me, it meant just as much to me as the other conferences did.
At the end of the day, I did get the Most Charismatic and Most Researched superlative, and that was the cherry on top. However, what made this conference so special is that I changed my mindset. I changed my perspective and approach, which is extremely crucial in anything that you do. I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished here, and this TASMUN conference is definitely one I will not forget.
April 26, 2017, stands out to me, not as the conference I contributed the most to, but the one I influenced the most.
Singapore Model United Nations 2017(MYMUN-OFS)
SPECIAL CONFERENCE: MOST ARTICULATE AND BEST DELEGATE AWARD
In this MUN Conference, I was much more confident than in the previous year. However, I was now plagued with a new sense of worry. Even though I had been chosen from my audition along with another 11 delegates out of a group of 50 at school, and had been practicing weekly with our TAS team for months before the conference, I was now in new territory, at the Overseas-Family School in Singapore. I was no longer on native ground; I was a foreigner. The only TAS member in my Special Conference committee room.
Arriving at OFS, I was immediately daunted by the sheer size of the school; TAS is huge, but OFS was bigger. Even though Singapore is well known for its daily pours, the school was sweltering. My suit jacket and long-sleeved dress shirt and dress pants seemed to suffocate me in the heat. My friends and I struggled to find our assigned committee rooms in what seemed like a maze. I finally found mine, and immediately felt like an outcast. Almost every delegate in the room had a friend there to talk to them, so I sat at a table alone in the middle of the room, busying myself with leafing through my binder. Luckily, a girl from OFS named Suhani approached me and she introduced me to her own friends, and we all decided to form a bloc.
Debate commenced after break, and this time I was prepared. My speech went without a hitch, as I called on delegates not to let our infrastructures burn up like Samsung Note 7s due to cyber attacks. It was short, simple, yet powerful. Other delegates even reached out to me after, asking to work together, which I happily obliged to.
Of course, not everyone was perfect. A shy delegate from France in my bloc was constantly pushed around by a “power delegate”, and this deeply angered me. To me, MUN is something that you bond over, in which you try to solve problems with others that cared about these issues as much as you did. Conferences offered as a place to meet new people and share ideas and perspectives; to try and offer change. Thus, I persuaded the chair to let the admins switch my seat to be next to hers since she admitted that I was her only friend there, and I gave her ideas for speeches and POIs.
The committee I had chosen was very controversial towards my country as I was representing Egypt, and the topics focused on cyber security and privacy – areas that Egypt lacks in and sometimes goes against. However, I wanted to challenge myself, and I was convinced that I would be able to do it – a stark contrast to the 2016 TASMUN conference.
Once again, my resolution was voted for unanimously, which I am extremely proud of. However, what made me even prouder was that the delegate from France received the Most Improved Award, and that I received the Most Articulate and Best Delegate Award, in response to my actions during the conference.
The conference started out negative; amendments were always to strike, speeches were always against, and for the first day no resolutions passed. It was as close as a conference could be to being a Samsung Galaxy Note 7. But with every speech, amendment, and POI that I made, I slowly turned the conference around. Soon, the amendments were to modify, more friendly amendments were submitted, POIs were used to enhance the resolution, and the speeches were used to encourage more votes. And the conference was a success.
Needless to say, February 24, 2017, changed my entire MUN career. Surrounded by these charismatic people, I was able to learn that MUN is more than just debate. It’s about helping one another to grow and making positive differences.The friends I made at this conference felt like they had been friends for a lifetime. I have definitely reached my goals in this conference and have set my own personal bar high. I know that on those conference days, I changed the conference for everyone, for the better.
TAS Model United Nations 2016 (TASMUN)
SOCIAL, CULTURAL, AND HUMANITARIAN COMMITTEE (SOCHUM): MOST DIPLOMATIC SUPERLATIVE
I remember first stepping into the conference room, feeling intimidated beyond belief. The room was packed with a mix of people I knew and didn’t know; some fooling around, some sifting through their hefty binders to review their research material. Sitting down behind the placard that read “URUGUAY” with two strangers on either side, I smiled tentatively at the girl sitting next to me, who simply nodded in return. And that didn’t calm my nerves very much. I was stranded all alone on this tiny island, completely unarmed and afraid. I remember standing up and hastily pushing my chair in as my country name was called, and I approached the front of the room to deliver my opening speech on water scarcity, praying that no one would see my legs shake behind the wooden podium. Sighing with relief as I once again sat down in my seat, thinking proudly to myself that I had successfully avoided any casualties and clashes – for the first thirty minutes, at least. I still had 13 hours to go.
Slowly, throughout the first day, I began to build my confidence, actually talking and speaking up to the people I was collaborating with on my resolution, and actually accepting to be the main submitter, which I regretted for a couple seconds right after. It was daunting; if I failed, I would be letting my entire bloc down.
With the conference being my very first one, all I wanted to do was observe for the majority of the time till it came to my own resolution. So when my friend decided to yield the floor to me, I was shocked. Scared and paralyzed. But it being my first conference, I wanted to prove myself. So I shakily walked up to the podium and made an impromptu speech at lightning speed, refused all POIs, and retreated to my seat. I had gotten through that one, barely. However, it went better than I thought it would.
After that, my confidence climbed to new heights as I started actively raising my placard to make speeches and submitting amendments, even though before each one I would take a while to ponder whether I actually wanted to do it or not, and ultimately deciding that I probably should.
The second day of the conference, I came in with a new mindset. That I would talk as much as possible, make as many crucial speeches that would turn the tide, amendments, and POIs as I could. This was crucial since today, we were going to debate my resolution. During unmoderated caucuses, I convinced others to be on my side and tried to gather as many votes as possible. And to my surprise, there was a unanimous vote. All 25 countries in the room voted for my resolution. My first resolution I had ever written. I was shocked, and even more so when I was given the Most Diplomatic Delegate superlative.
April 26, 2016, officially became the day my MUN career truly took off and kickstarted my passions for current events and debate. MUN has helped me feel confident speaking in front of crowds, and that is a skill that I will always carry with myself.