Denise Danda represented the college in the Lagos Regional Secondary Schools Model United Nations programme, where she incidentally came first in her group. She shares her experience below:
The great honour of representing OTC in the 1st LARSSMUN (Lagos Regional Secondary Schools Model United Nations) was bestowed upon me, with the conference running from the 7th to the 11th of November, 2015. The Nigerian Model United Nations Society (NigMUNS) organised the conference, and it represents a simulation of the negotiating forums of the United Nations Organization. More than 200 students from various secondary schools in Lagos participated in the programme. The participants (known as delegates for the duration of the conference) each represented a chosen member state in a United Nations organization. I represented one of the great powers (the victors of World War II), the United States of America, in the Security Council.
The first day was by far the most laidback day of the entire conference as we were given time to settle into our hotel rooms before the welcome party in the evening. At the welcome party, we were introduced to Mr. Chika Nwaozuzu, the Chairman of NigMUNS, who delivered a memorable speech encouraging us to make the most of the LARSSMUN experience. He also urged the female delegates to aim to become future Governors, Presidents and Chairpersons and not to merely thrive to become First Ladies and relatives of great men. A rap and dance segment by delegates from various schools broke the ice and set the ball rolling for what was sure to be a fun night.
Official conference activities kicked off on the second day, with delegates first being introduced to the conference officials, who were alumni of the NISSMUN conference (a similar conference that has been held in Abuja for almost 10 years). Afterwards, we were taken through standard UN procedure and rules which were to guide our committee and General Plenary sessions. I must say, the formal procedures seemed complicated and tedious at this point, so I was thrown off balance for a while. Later on, we were organised into the General Plenary sitting arrangements, in which we were to sit with our fellow country members regardless of whatever United Nations body we each belonged to. Throughout the conference, when we were to vote for Committee Presidents and Repertoires as well as other official positions, we had to vote as a country after deliberating amongst ourselves.
I was incredibly happy when committee sessions started after lunch time and Happy Hour (in which we could socialise with delegates representing other countries). Though the committee formalities were pretty unnerving initially, I soon gained back confidence after our committee discussion on “ISIS and youth recruitment: a threat to global security” started. This was largely due to the fact that I had thoroughly researched the topic and the United States’ standpoint beforehand. Other countries represented in the Security Council included Russian Federation, Peoples Republic of China, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Jordan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Angola and Nigeria.
The third day marked the opening ceremony, which was attended by various news stations, United Nations officials and students from non-participating schools. This had to be held on the third day due to the fact that we had started the conference over the weekend, so many of the guests would not have been able to make it. A message from the Special Guest of Honour, The Oba of Lagos, HRM Alaiyeluwa Oba Rilwanu Akiolu I (who was in absentia) was read out, much to my fellow delegates’ delight. Committee sessions continued, with my Council debating on the “Proliferation of small arms and light weapons” in the Middle East. Other committees included the General Assembly, which discussed “Learning to live together” and “Responsible global citizenship”; the Human Rights Council (HRC), which discussed “Combating hatred, prejudice, intolerance and stereotypes” and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in which “Empowering youth as change agents” and “Economic implications of hate crimes” were discussed. All the committees had thought-provoking topics, which allowed intense debates to take place.
That night was World Cultural Night in which we were to dress up in traditional attire from various countries of the world. Dressed up in traditional Ghanaian garb, I had an amazing time watching the various performances by students from other schools. A professional performing arts group danced and sang heartily, starting off with a traditional Zulu song while they were dressed in Zulu warrior attires.
The last day of the conference marked the drafting of the committees’ resolutions. Each delegate was to draft a resolution – which is a document detailing suggested steps that the committee is to take to combat the issues discussed – which was then to be presented to the committee. The resolution was to be written in a formal and particular format – as exactly done in the actual United Nations. Eventually, the committee voted to adopt the United States’ Resolution, much to my delight, as I had taken my time to judiciously draft the resolution. This led to my being awarded the Best Delegate in the Security Council at the farewell dinner later that night!
All in all, the experience was second to none as I learnt a lot about the founding of the United Nations and the organisation as a whole. From the heated debates in the Security Council to the light-hearted Happy Hour activities, the entire program was a complete package of serious business and great pleasure. With there being other Model United Nations Societies in over 100 countries in the world, I look forward to continuing to finesse my diplomatic skills in other Model United Nations Societies wherever I may go in the future. Kudos to NigMUNS for organizing a successful maiden LARSSMUN conference! And a big shout out to the school for giving me the opportunity to represent our core values as the only OTC delegate!
BY: DENISE DANDA-
Represented Oxbridge Tutorial College at the sessions.