In a week’s time, Paritosh Kanoria, 15, represented Denmark and spoke for Lebanon, swivelling through the full spectrum of political positions while participating in back-to-back Model United Nations conferences.
The Cathedral Model United Nations (CMUN) took place last weekend. The Harvard Model United Nations was held at the World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade this week from August 18 to 21. MUNs are simulations of the UN where students participate as representatives of different countries to debate international issues and pass resolutions. The MUNs have been expanding over the past few years in the city. CMUN entered its 15th year this year, expanding to a venue outside the school, at the Trident, with international delegates participating. Harvard MUN is being held for the first time in India Dhirubhai Ambani International School will also host international students this year, and participant numbers are expected to touch 600, up from less than 100 students in its inaugural MUN in 2004. The MUNs have been getting more innovative, too: this year’s CMUN organised an ‘al Qaeda simulation group. “It was a test for participants to research al Qaeda’s thinking and the way they operate.” said Jeh Tirodkar, secretary general for CMUN 2011.
The possibility of solving world issues, while exercising faux power, is part of the thrill, said participants. The sheer breadth of research and understanding required is itself an experience for some. “The amount you learn is insane,” said Kanoria, a Class 8 student of Bombay International School, who read about the Rwandan genocide, Korean Crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan all in one go. “I had never heard of any of these before.”