Five BA LLB (a course which combines Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law) students of VM Salgaocar College of Law, Miramar recently got the opportunity to put forth their views and ideas at the Singapore Model United Nations (SMUN) held at the National University of Singapore. The group included three second year students namely Sherwyn Correia, Vasudev Salkar, Siddhant Shetye and two fifth year students Rajlaxmi Bhatkar and Vasantha Kothagiri.
Model United Nations is a platform for young diplomats to come forward and discuss the concerns of the world and be part of the change. It is an initiative to train them to be diplomats of the future.
Correia who has a keen interest in political, economic, and historical debate was allotted the Disarmaments and International Security Committee at the event. “I debated about rising military expenditure among countries and the use of Artificial Intelligence in the manufacture of weapons. I also learnt a lot about Colombia, the country I was allotted. I had a lot of fun debating, drafting resolutions, and lobbying with fellow delegates,” he says. Apart from making friends from different parts of the world, the event, he says, the conference also increased her curiosity in international diplomacy and she looks forward to more such opportunities in the future.
For Salkar who is also fascinated with politics, the event shone a light on various other factors that he overlooked. The youngster was allotted the World Trade Organisation council and had to represent the country of Yemen. “The topics on the floor were trade protectionism and the multilateral trading system in Africa. The discussion was spirited and everyone was passionate with all their relevant points. The floor was ablaze with knowledge that I knew I couldn’t have hoped to receive anywhere else,” he says, adding that no class could have prepared him for this enriching experience.
As an avid public speaker, Shetye is always willing to try new things so when a fellow MUNer presented the opportunity to participate in this prestigious conference there wasn’t any other answer but yes. “My interests include economics. I was fortunate to be a delegate in the World Trade Organisation, discussing global economic issues such trade protectionism and multi lateral trading system in the African continent. The arguments pitched by all the delegates aided in the formation of an all comprehensive resolution by the council,” he says, adding that the conference helped him in understanding and connecting with different mindsets and broadening his perspective.
Kothagiri on the other hand applied to SMUN as an independent delegate. She was allocated UNESCO as her council and had to represent the country of Canada. “The topic on which my council passed a resolution was ‘preventing digital misinformation’ which is an important issue to be solved in most of the countries today. As a whole the conference is a great opportunity for students to develop as responsible citizens as MUN encourages youth to be involved in their community and fight against the unfair and unlawful practices in their respective nations,” she says.
While Bhatkar has earlier attended the Model United Nations in Malaysia in January 2019 which focused on global goals, she came to know about SMUN through her international friends who are active in such global discussions. At SMUN she was part of the World Health Organisation where they discussed issues about emergency methods to be used, to the factors affecting healthcare technology, and the concern for spreading more awareness about mental illness and eradicating the social stigma associated with it.
“I have been part of several conferences in the past but the kind of exposure which is achieved through MUN is amazing as it has opened new doors for me to discuss issues at a global level,” she says.