Sri Lanka Model United Nations (SLMUN) returns for its 13 th session this year with the promise of a brand-new experience. Considering the status quo around the globe, the theme for the upcoming conference is ‘A world in conflict’; aiming to unite today’s youth to stand up against misgovernance and injustice and creating a better future for all. SLMUN 2020 is scheduled to be held on the 12 th and 13 th of September 2020 and will be simulating a total of 11 committees this year.

What is Model United Nations?

Model United Nations (MUN) is a simulation of the United Nations where committees such as the General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council will be simulated with delegates representing sovereign nations and other entities from across the globe. The delegates shall deliberate over a topic assigned to the committee of which they are a member to while taking care not to stray from the mandate of the committee or violate the foreign policy of their respective nation. The MUN arena is one of diplomacy, negotiations, and tact and while in session every person in the committee room follows strict procedure. A well-conducted MUN session is ripe with well-researched arguments and constructive criticism as each delegate vie to come up with the best solutions.

SLMUN over the years

Being the pioneering MUN conference in Sri Lanka and the largest student-run UN simulation in South East Asia, SLMUN consistently attracts more than 1000 students coming from diverse backgrounds nationwide each year. Since our inception in 2008, we have endeavored to give the youth a platform to voice their opinions and encourage fruitful debate in order to reach viable solutions. Our mission is to shape our delegates to be compassionate and intelligent young leaders who will lead society towards a brighter future. Your experience as a delegate in SLMUN is sure to develop your skills in leadership, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking.

The 13 th Session

The COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed the way we live, society has adapted to the new normal of social distancing. We at SLMUN too, have altered the conference to adhere to the health guidelines published by the Ministry of Health and will be hosting our first ever virtual conference this year.

While an online conference limits our capabilities in certain ways, it cannot be denied that it has opened doors towards new opportunities. It allows our participants to take part in committee sessions from the safety and comfort of their homes, but also it gives international delegates, who are unable to commute due to travel restrictions, a chance to join from all over the world.

Our partners for SLMUN 2020

A virtual MUN conference presents the Executive Committee as well as the participants with unprecedented challenges. From the software to internet facilities to the necessary devices, we intend to give the best experience possible to our delegates. Many organizations have stepped in to support our endeavor of organizing a successful virtual conference. Hewlett Packard (HP) has offered an attractive discount for the delegates to purchase a 250 G7 Notebook laptop. Furthermore, Dialog Axiata, our official
telecommunications partner, has come forward to resolve possible connectivity issues with a discount for a Dialog Home Broadband connection while providing exclusive data packages for participants of SLMUN 2020. All delegates are eligible for these offers once they have registered and paid the delegate fee for the conference.

We are happy to announce that we will be utilizing Microsoft Teams as a platform to host this year’s conference, which is freely available as a desktop application. As the platform may be a new experience for some, the Executive Committee will be releasing video tutorials as well as instructive documents on how to operate MS Teams. Moreover, we will be conducting practice debates prior to the conference so as to give an opportunity to the delegates to familiarize themselves with participating in committee session virtually.

In order to provide our delegates with the best possible experience this year, the Executive Committee has taken steps to guarantee the smooth transition from physical debate to virtual debate by employing several features available to Microsoft Teams such as ‘Breakout Room for lobbying sessions and raise hand options before obtaining the floor to make certain that standard MUN procedure will be followed from roll call and speaker’s list down to resolution discussion while ensuring that the delegates receive the authentic SLMUN experience they crave for.

To begin with, all the delegates will be able to witness the Opening Ceremony as it will be broadcasted online through MS Teams. Following that, the delegates will be joining their respective committees for formal session. Each committee will have its own Team, and only delegates belonging to that particular committee will have access to it. From that point onwards, we will be following the usual MUN procedure from Roll Call and Speakers’ list to Resolution Discussion. The ‘Raise Hand’ feature in MS Teams will substitute the placard and delegates will be required to raise it to obtain the floor. For lobbying sessions, we will be employing the ‘Breakout Rooms’ feature, and the delegates will be able to build up their resolutions with privacy in their selected blocs just like they would be able to at a physical conference.

All of the delegates will also be required to have their video and audio on to ensure that they would feel the thrill of debating against one another just like at a physical conference considering how diverse this year’s conference is going to be owing to it being virtual as this will bring together an unusually diverse group of delegates from within Sri Lanka as well as delegates from around the world since all they require to be a part of SLMUN 2020 is a laptop and a stable internet connection.

In spite of the challenges ahead, the Executive Committee of SLMUN 2020, along with our generous partners, is ready to make this year’s conference unique and indelible to all our delegates.