At the beginning of this year, KICS sent its first Middle School Model UN team to the East Africa MS MUN conference in Nairobi, Kenya. 14 students from Grades 7 and 8 represented KICS, accompanied by two faculty chaperones. During the conference, Simon Thomas proposed a resolution before the Technology committee of the MUN body that was passed, and at the conclusion, Luke Stoney-Eby received the Best Delegate Award for his work representing Gabon, also in the Technology committee.
Laetitia Ruzibukira (Haiti, Technology committee) recently sat down for a question and answer session to give some insight into the trip.
KICS: Can you give us an idea of what the preparation for the MUN conference looked like for KICS students?
Laetitia: There were 14 student delegates on the KICS MS MUN team. We represented the countries of Gabon, Haiti, Argentina, Serbia and Haiti in different committees, Human rights, Technology, Ecology and Health. Before we could attend the conference in Kenya, which was held in the actual UN office in Nairobi, we had to write a resolution and learn all the correct procedures etc use of correct language. We met twice a week in order to learn what we needed to know about our committees, our countries and what it looked like representing them. We took about two weeks writing our resolutions and had a bit of an idea of what it would look like during the actual conference, thanks to a few high schoolers who had gone before. In total the prep time took close to two months and gave us a fair idea of what to expect.
KICS: What did the schedule look like for your group in Nairobi?
Laetitia: Nairobi is an hour ahead of Kigali, we woke up each day at 5 A.M., it felt like 4! We had breakfast at 7 and were on the road by 7:30 in order to get to the UN building before General Assembly started at 9. General Assembly is where all the people attending MS MUN gathered in one room and listened to a guest speaker each day. Some told us about their experience in the UN while others gave us advice for our participation. Then we divided off into our own committees and began debating. Our lunch break was around 12:30 P.M. and we all had to be back in our conference rooms at 1. MUN ended at 3 and then we got to decide each day what to do with our free time. Throughout the week, we went to a couple of malls and watched movies in our cabins, but often spent our afternoons preparing for the next day of MUN or doing homework. At around 5, we would all meet up in one cabin and just talk and have some fun together. Dinner was at 7 P.M., after which we headed back to our cabins doing homework and hanging out. Overall, we had some busy days and lots of work, but it was a lot of fun with our group.
KICS: How did you feel going into the conference about your preparedness to represent Haiti and did it meet your expectations?
Laetitia: Going into the trip, I didn’t really feel nervous. It felt kind of normal, which was a weird feeling. The nerves really set in when I walked into the conference room on my first day. There were so many other people in the Technology committee, and we shared the room with another committee, so it felt even more overwhelming. But I had several people from KICS in the same room with me, so I quickly attached myself to them. Slowly over the next few days, I made my way without them. I didn’t get to speak even once because I was never picked by the Chair, but I felt confidant, like I knew what I was doing. On the first day, I was merely an observer and just watched what everyone was doing. As the conference went on, I felt prepared and ready if I did get a chance to speak. My expectations were pretty high for MUN, but still, my mind was blown by how big and official everything was. But as intimidating as it was, I had a lot of fun.
KICS: How did our KICS team do at MUN overall?
Laetitia: I have to say, I think KICS performed really well. We got a resolution passed and even an award for best delegate. The people that went up to the podium to talk had so much courage and assertiveness in their voice that it made it almost impossible not to agree with them. The ones I was able to watch weren’t hesitant at all and looked like they’ve been doing this on a regular basis. Standing in front of hundreds of people trying to convince them of something is very hard, especially knowing that some people will always disagree with you. But they all stood their ground and answered with accuracy and with a confidence that was impressive . I was really proud of our whole team.
KICS: How has going to the MS MUN conference impacted you?
Laetitia: One way I grew as a person on this trip was in my confidence. Even though I was never called upon, holding up my placard (for what? voting? to have a chance to speak?) took a lot of courage. Now being in front of a big group doesn’t scare me as much. I also learned that I really enjoy debating. I never really thought debate would be something I would enjoy but being able to represent Haiti in the Technology committee and feeling prepared to give their perspective helped me enjoy the debates. I also made some new friends and that made me get out of my comfort zone a bit. On one of the last days, our team was all in one cabin talking about how cool it was to be in the UN building and experiencing a bit of what it is really like in the UN. We all were so scared at first but grew in confidence and had so much fun together. It was a bonding moment that I will not forget.
KICS: What would you tell someone that is thinking about joining MS MUN?
Laetitia: I would tell them to go for it. You won’t regret it. It is so much fun, and you will make tons of new friends. The lessons you learn are really valuable and it makes you get out of your comfort zone, which I ended up really enjoying. MUN was so foreign to me and I never would have known how awesome it is if I didn’t try. You have nothing to lose in joining MUN. So, I would say try it out, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it!