Thinking Small to Create Big Change: KAMUN 2016

Think Small. Win Big. It was a seemingly perplexing motto to start this years King’s Academy Model United Nations conference although this ideal lead to its ultimate success. The goal of the conference was not to be better but to be different, in the words of Secretary General, Rami Rustom. Many MUN conferences seek to be the biggest and the best in their region but KAMUN sought to be alternative. The Secretariat and the Presidents worked to insure that forums were small and selective in order to increase the level of debate. Unlike most MUN conferences, the focus was shifted from a political approach to that of entrepreneurship in order to get delegates to think small in order to win big.

A veteran MUNer myself and the President of the Human Rights Council in KAMUN2016, I can say from first hand experience that the quality of the forums determines the success and likability of the conference. The first conference I attended was the largest MUN conference in the world and I was in the largest forum in the conference which had over three hundred and fifty delegates. The sheer number of delegates made debate difficult to moderate as well as difficult to contribute to. KAMUN was different. Forums didn’t succeed more than thirty-five delegates, creating an ambiance of professionalism and seriousness. There were also a smaller number of forums this year to keep the delegate process selective with delegates being filtered into either the Security Council, Arab League, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Disarmament Commission, Human Rights Council, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court or Jordanian Model Parliament.

KAMUN introduced many changes this year that were not common in years past. Keeping with the MUN theme of having an international experience, KAMUN welcomed its first international school which was a huge success. The American School of Palestine ventured across the border to join the KAMUN secretariat team for a trip to Petra and performed extremely well in debate. A large problem in the past was having too much plastic water bottle waste which created not only an organizing issue but an environmental one. This year the conference offered every delegate their own personal re-usable metal water bottle to be used throughout the conference and beyond. In order to stimulate and incentivize debate each forum would determine a Best Delegate of the Hour which was posted on the newly introduced KAMUN app as well as the KAMUN website.

At the opening ceremony Deputy Secretary General, Sami Akkawi, delivered a speech on the theme “Think Small. Win Big.” in the context of resolution writing stating, “I thought that a successful resolution meant a resolution with big words and with eloquence. The solutions themselves didn’t matter. They were always handy ideas that I could slap on to any topic: raising awareness, creating an NGO or a committee, increasing funding, deploying UN watchdogs, and so on and so forth…When the secretariat and I were choosing a theme, we were driven by a need to not just have great debate but great solutions… ‘Think Small. Win Big.’ is all about solving these huge problems to actually get results.”

One example of creating an effective solution that came up in both the training of delegates in the MUN co-curricular as well as the secretariat speeches was the issue of Somali pirates. This issue at hand is not the fact that pirates are wrongly patrolling the waters off Somalia, it is the fact that the system and infrastructure of Somalia prevents these people from gaining adequate education and employment. Instead of deploying UN watchdogs to evaluate the situation, a better solution would be to change the employment system of Somalia to implement more people into the work force.

Akkawi’s speech was followed by keynote speaker Line Sergie Attar, a Syrian American who heads the Karam Foundation which seeks to educate young Syrian refugees, provide entrepreneurial skills, and give basic medical services. Her speech was fascinating and controversially touched, given it was a MUN conference, on the United Nations as an international governing body that has failed miserably in the eyes of the Syria crisis stating, “While I know that this is a Model UN conference, the last thing I want you to do is model the UN.” Sergie reminded delegates that the regime does not allow the UN to administer aid across combat lines.

KAMUN2016 with the aid of thoughtful speakers, excellent leadership, and purposeful changes created a new ambiance of serious debate and professional behavior that enabled the conference to be a successful one.

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