Eight months ago, I would have never in my wildest dreams envision flying around the globe to represent my school and Singapore for a renowned international conference - Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN). To be frank, I was just your ordinary final year Business and Management student who had never heard of Model United Nations (MUN), much less participated in one.
I started off fresh, not knowing how far this would take me, like that blind leap of faith a child takes while walking for the first time. I was constantly placed out of my comfort zone and had those “make-or-break” moments hurled at me. Our training was intense, tough but necessary to prepare us well for the actual conference. Simultaneously juggling my classes, internship and HNMUN during those months was no easy feat. I vividly recall the times I wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits. However, I knew I would live to regret it if I did not give it a chance and press on. It is only through cooperation and breaking the silos that solutions are passed."
It is only through cooperation and breaking the silos that solutions are passed.
In a way, HNMUN was not a mere simulation but resembles life itself. The journey was arduous but manageable, and one comes out from it stronger. As individuals, we have to stand for our beliefs and at times convince others to follow our lead. In the process, we interact with others to understand where they stand and how we complement them. Coming to a compromise is inevitable when parties disagree and these are life skills I have grown to appreciate. Similarly, it is only through cooperation and breaking the silos that solutions are passed.
The individuals I met through the conference are much cherished. They came from a diverse pool of cultures and backgrounds, each with their own unique identity. Similar to life, no classroom training could ever prepare one for the actual thing. My experience has been a humbling one as I have learnt a lot from my fellow experienced delegates on the inner workings of the conference. From their charisma to their leadership style, one could easily tell how they outshone the rest. I have come to realise there are no hard and fast rules, while the ability to think on one’s feet is essential.
This journey has benefited me in ways I could never have imagined. It has given me the opportunity to hone my soft skills in public speaking, teamwork, negotiation and the confidence to approach others in any given situation. I was consistently kept on my toes and had to be able to adapt to the changing circumstances in this fast-paced conference. Being able to sense the shifting dynamics of the group and forge new alliances is something I have come to appreciate as well.
With regards to hard skills, I have accumulated a great deal of knowledge about the underlying purpose, workings and mandates of the various United Nations agencies. I have also learnt much about the countries I represent and the rationale behind their policy-making. Through this, I have become deeply aware and innately curious about global issues and their impact on each one of us.
This journey has given me the opportunity to find my passion in life, the ability to speak strongly for a cause and understand different perspectives from conversing with others. It has also given me cross-functional learning in diplomacy and international relations, has broadened my exposure, and prompted me to consider alternate job paths in foreign relations and international trade.
As a Diplomatic Commendation recipient, I definitely felt a mixture of shock and ecstasy.
Diplomatic Commendation awards are recognition given out by the Secretary-General of HNMUN for delegates’ stellar performance and are ranked in the following order with the number of winners varying with each committee – Diplomatic Commendation (four recipients), Honourable Mention (four recipients), Outstanding Delegate (2 recipients), Best Delegate (one recipient). A total of 10 recipients were awarded out of 195 teams in our committee highlighting the immense difficulty in obtaining the awards.
As a Diplomatic Commendation recipient, I definitely felt a mixture of shock and ecstasy. Michelle Yauw and I honestly did not expect to clinch any awards. Truth be told, our strategy was nothing more than putting our best foot forward, being nice to everyone and enjoying the whole process. Winning awards became our secondary concern at that point of time but I guess when we did all those, the moderators were able to see the consistent genuine efforts our team had put in. I am optimistic that being genuine and working hard will be assets in my job search in the near future.
To conclude, I am immensely thankful to Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), members of Student Development (SDEV), faculty advisor (Dr Felix Tan) and all trainers who made this opportunity possible.
My simple wish would be for this rare opportunity to be made available for all fellow SIM students and I look forward to be able to contribute to the school and SIM International Affairs Society (SIM IAS) in any way possible.
Malvick Ong (pictured above left with fellow HNMUN participant Michelle Yauw) is a final year BSc Business and Management student. He attended the HNMUN conference in Boston, Massachusetts from 13–16 February 2020. He was joined by fellow SIM-University of London students:
- Jeremy See, International Foundation Programme
- Selena Qu, BSc Banking and Finance
- Kimberley Chen, BSc Business and Management
- Ow Kai Kit, BSc Economics
- Chan Lock Peng, BSc Economics and Politics
- Beatrice Christelle Ng, BSc International Relations
- Gabriel Loh, BSc International Relations
- Michelle Eldyn Yauw, BSc International Relations
- Nur Ernira Bte Md. Ramli, BSc International Relations
- Ryan Ang, BSc International Relations