Friday, December 6, 2013

Model United Nations

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" -Mahatma Gandhi

And if you wish to change the world then what is better than trying to resolve global issues and preventing wars through MUN? 

Model United Nations or MUN is an extra curricular activity for students that simulates the United Nations an their committees. Although being an International school, MUN commenced only last year and I've participated in the club for three school terms. I'm glad I've got the opportunity to participate in the club even though I wasn't able to go to the real conference (:'(). These are the skills I've gained just from participation:

  • Researching - about current events and countries which I previously new little about
  • Debating skills - expressing your opinion in a convincing manner or in other words cleverly arguing 
  • Public speaking - I don't often get the opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions publicly and when I do I get very nervous, and this helped me become more confident in myself. 
  • Building up confidence - as I wrote previously, it takes a lot of courage to speak in public and put up a confident front like a real UN delegate.  
  • Learning new vocabulary - the UN is very specific about how papers have to written. The delegate refers to himself by the country's name and in third person and uses a variety of verbs that I personally never tackled before.
  • Writing a position paper - it states the position of the country related to the issue and is basically a summary of the research. Here's an example that my peer and I wrote about the crisis in Syria: 
    Delegation:           Russia
    Commission:        Disarmament
    The Question of Chemical Weapons Trades
    Russia sees that it is necessary to create an agreement with the United States that the Syrian government surrenders all chemical weapons. However, Russia believes that the Assad regime is a mean of stability to the country and only agrees to stop the trade of chemical weapons, if no force is used against Syria. As defined in UN General Assembly, Syria shall submit their chemical weapons by middle of next year, established by the United States and Russia, under a contract, which:
    a.    States the full list of the chemical weapons held by Syria, and
    b.    Informs that all chemical sites must be emptied before the end of November; and
    c.     Establishes a guarantee of elimination of chemical weapons.
    Russia sustains an economic and diplomatic relationship with Syria since 1971, providing access to naval facilities, arm sales, military and intelligence cooperation. Russia hopes that the Syrian government will continue to deflect international pressure. Russia opposes critical resolution of the Syrian government and does not intend to involve the Russian military in the conflict. However, Russia believes the crisis in Syria should end by a peace conference between the United States and the Bashar-al-Assad government.
  • Writing a resolution - the resolution collects all the issues that the committees have addressed and their proposed solutions. 
  • Working together and respecting others' opinions - although MUN is about expressing opinions, you aren't allowed to speak unless you're given the permission and to interrupt when another delegate is speaking.
Overall, as you can see, MUN was a very enriching experience that would definitely help me in University and later in life. I'm not losing hope and I'll try my best to experience or witness an MUN conference first-hand.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lose Yourself in the Music. Find Yourself in Shape.

I've decided to try out Zumba because I'm not a big fan of team sports and the majority of the sports our school offers as a club involved a team. Also, it was a great opportunity to branch off the comfortable school's club environment and attend classes with older age groups. I split my Zumba learning into two; attending classes at Kabira Country Club and learning from a Zumba CD together with my friend. By splitting it up like that it allowed me balance my time with school work. I found it very challenging to follow the steps because the instructor didn't explained the movements step by step and I just tried to copy her as much as I could. As you can see in the video bellow, there wasn't much flexibility and flow in our dance movements. Although after some time and practice we managed to become more confident in our dancing abilities, we are far being perfect.

The goals of this activity was to learn a new skill and undertake new challenges. Apart from these obvious learning outcomes, we also planned and initiated activities. How? We planned a Zumba lesson for our fellow DP2 classmates during one of our CAS periods. Even though we planned, not everything went as we expected. First of all, we couldn't find our Zumba CD to help us choreograph the class and play Latino music. So we eventually resolved to mainstream music and learn the choreography to those songs from videos on the internet (our faithful rescuer). Moreover, for some students it was too difficult because we didn't have the time (40 min period) to go through the dances step by step, and they stopped half way. This situation was similar to our first Zumba lesson but the key here is to keep on going even if it seems as though you're not so good at it. I believe that in the end our lesson was successful because it was an enjoyable physical exercise that gave the students a short break from our usual school routine. 

The video presents our first lesson and the lesson with the DP2 students.