15 January 2024

Diplomacy in a changing world, Sunway Model United Nations Conference 2023

The Sunway Model United Nations (SUNMUN) Conference marked the 8th iteration of the flagship event at Sunway University, held from November 24 to November 26. Over 170 delegates participated, role-playing as world leaders or politicians to enhance their understanding of international and national organisations. As one of Malaysia's largest Model UN conferences, the delegate count doubled from the previous year. The event was organized by a team of 15 secretariat members and 20 DAIS chairs.

The theme, 'Diplomacy in a changing world,' was chosen to address contemporary challenges such as climate change, conflicts, and child trafficking. It emphasises the need for adaptability and innovative tactics to confront evolving global issues. Council sessions in various rooms cover theme-related topics, including addressing Artificial Intelligence and Mitigating Negative Perceptions Towards the Use of Nuclear Energy. There are 7 councils to choose from for this year’s conference: United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality (UN Women), International Press Corporation (IPC), Historical United Nations Security Council Crisis (HUNSCC), Historical Dewan Rakyat Crisis (HDRC), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

An audience larger than 200 people packed the auditorium on the first day. Ms. Vanitha, the director of the Australian Matriculation Programme (AUSMAT), welcomed everyone to the conference and discussed the SUNMUN club's progress. Two experienced diplomatic speakers took the stage. Ms. Kar Marn Chin spoke about addressing mental health issues and her journey from SUNMUN club involvement to volunteering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNICEF Malaysia. Mr. Sahil Chopra, founder of Social House Events and Social House Learning, shared his experience overcoming challenges at his first Model UN Conference.

For the remaining of the first and second day, council sessions took place and many beginners started with an introduction to the Rules of Procedures (ROPs) for Model UN Conferences by the Malaysian Youth Association for Diplomacy and Policy (MYADP). Intermediate and advanced councils began crafting policy recommendations through draft resolutions and the beginner councils eventually caught up. For example, the UNICEF council started to introduce solutions like funding educational programmes and working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in conflict areas to assist refugees. The second day concluded with a social night, providing delegates, DAIS, and the secretariat a chance to unwind from the day's intense debate sessions.

For the last day, draft resolutions would be passed by all the councils and the last council sessions wrap up with goodbyes and pictures taken to remember the conference. To wrap up, a closing ceremony took place to hand out certificates to award the impressive performance shown by the delegates and the Secretary-General hit the gavel to officially close the event.

Beyond the conference's three days, DAIS chairing beginner councils gave exceptional feedback on delegates advancing rapidly. Many participants praised the SUNMUN Conference as one of the best Model UN Conferences they've attended, highlighting positive progress for the Malaysia Model UN Community in terms of learning growth and increased youth participation.

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