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Little UNs’ big champs

They’re young, cool and leading the way towards change. We profile five young secretary generals of Model United Nations bodies across Delhi.

entertainment Updated: Mar 17, 2011 00:12 IST
Anurag Gulati

These young guns are debating against nuclear disarmament, striving for world peace and demanding that India gets a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Several colleges in the Capital have formed Model United Nations (MUN), where students take on tasks of the Security Council and debate matters at an intra and inter-college level. One of its most recent addition is the Amity University MUN.

The concept of an MUN started in the University of Chicago in 1988. Yameni Dhankar, who represented South Korea in the Delhi University MUN, says, “One gets to read up on a lot of things and meet new people.” Mansi Aggarwal of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, who won at the recent Harvard National MUN (in Boston) says, “The heated discussions and the parties really made it amazing.” With all the networking involved, students say it’s also a great place to meet new people.

Meet the young Secretary Generals of the capital

Supriya Narang, 20
Economics Honours,
3rd year Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), Model United Nations (LSR MUN)

Narang was the coordinator of the debating society of LSR. “The MUN is a mix of debate and conference —it teaches you a lot more about things. Those three-four days of participation helps us grow immensely,” says the 20-year-old, current secretary general of this model of the UN. The LSR chapter has a budget of Rs 2 lakh and 130 members, and Narang explains they get about 400 applications for those seats. Like the UN organisational structure, Narang too, has nine under secretaries. “They do so much work, they make my life a lot easier,” she says.

Message for Ban Ki-moon: “Give India a permanent seat on the Security Council.”

Dhruv Singh Raghuvanshi, 21
BE Mechanical,
3rd year Delhi Technology University Model United Nations (DTU MUN)

“DTUMUN is one of the only MUNs hosted by an engineering college,” says Dhruv Singh Raghuvanshi, who was approached by his juniors to take on the position of secretary general last year. Raghuvanshi wants to go for an MBA from Harvard. For him, the best about MUN is that it’s a good platform for public speaking.
“The three-day session gives you time to think and put your best foot forward.”

His aim for the DTU MUN is “better organisation, more councils and a better crisis committee.” With a budget of Rs 1-1.5 lakh, they have a strength of 120 members.

His message for Ban Ki-moon: “I appreciate the work done by the UN, and I am trying to contribute to the opportunities that have been presented to me.”

Akshay Sharma, 21
BBS, 3rd year Delhi University Model United Nations (DU MUN)

Unlike other college models, the DU MUN is a larger body with 215 members. Sharma, the secretary general, who first took part in a model UN session in class IX, was chosen for the post as he had the most “experience”. Having attended 26 MUN sessions, he says, "It gives us an exposure to international events, an insight into global politics and helps in soft skills development - it's a wonderful experience."

For Sharma, the future plans are clear: "Do an MBA and then move into the economic aspects of the UN." The DU MUN has a budget of Rs 11 lakh, which includes in-kind sponsorships and partnership memorabilia.

Message for Ban Ki-moon: “Try to be a more like Kofi Annan (the previous secretary general of the UN) and push the bar higher.”

Shikhar Singh, 21
History Honours,
3rd year St. Stephen’s Model United Nations (SMUN)

This is Shikhar Singh’s second tenure as a secretary general. His first was while he was in Doon School. Appointed by the Planning Forum of the college, Singh says, “A winner at an MUN combines subject knowledge with persuasive articulation policy — and is a person who shapes and directs the debate.”

Singh says he wants to be an psephologist eventually (study and statistical analysis of elections). With a budget of Rs 80,000, Singh explains large grants are not part of their processes. “Though we are a new MUN, we are not moneyed and we not function on large grants.”

His message for Ban Ki-moon: “Preserve the political functions and authority of the UN in a world where rival centres are emerging.”

Anurag Gupta, 21
B Tech, 3rd year Amity University Model United Nations (AMI MUN)

The AMI MUN council is Amity University’s foray into the world of mock UN sessions, and Anurag Gupta, a Computer Science student, was the brain behind it. “It was my idea; I had never seen any MUN happening in my college. So it struck me, why not? I went to the student affairs director, and things took off from there. We drafted the proposal last April,” he says, adding that their aim is to constantly improve, with each year.

“The first impression is the last impression. We will try to organise AMI MUN in such a way that all the colleges say that it is the best.” He adds, “Every MUN is different; but what makes them special is their relation with the UN,” he adds. With a budget of Rs 2 lakh (approx), the body held its first MUN this February.

His message for Ban Ki-moon: “Our’s is a small step towards the same goal — peace and harmony in the world.”