Youth in Action
BANMUN -- A Student Platform
Ever wonder what it would feel like to be able to solve the world's problems? To hold the power of a diplomat and take the voice of your people to a global platform? That is what the first ever nationwide Bangladesh Model United Nation (BANMUN) had to offer to its 167 participants from 32 universities from across the nation. The 3-day-long programme was held in the United International University (UIU) at the Dhanmondi campus from October 13 to 15.
The conference, known as BANMUN 2011, with the theme 'Ensuring Food for All', provided a platform for the youth of Bangladesh to generate ideas on various issues regarding food security and to propose solutions to the existing problems. Model United Nations (also Model UN or MUN) is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about civics, effective communication, globalisation and multilateral diplomacy. In standard Model UN, students take on roles as diplomats and participate in a simulated session of an intergovernmental organisation (IGO). Participants research on a country, take on roles as diplomats, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.
At the opening ceremony, the participants were enlightened about how the real UN works, thanks to Saida Muna Tasneem, Director General (UN), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sayed Saikh Imtiaz, Assistant professor, Department of Women and Gender Studies, University of Dhaka and Nafiz Imtiaz, Coordinator, Activista Bangladesh and President of UNYSAB. Also present at the ceremony were Kazi Ali Reza, Officer In-charge, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Chowdhury Mofizur Rahman, Pro Vice-Chancellor, United International University (UIU), Abul Kalam Azad, Director, United Group, M. Aminul Islam, Assistant Country Director, Disaster Management and Adaptation Cluster Head, UNDP Bangladesh.
Since this was the first MUN held in Bangladesh at the university level, it was a learning experience for most of the participants. Chair of each committee patiently taught the participants how to act, speak and behave like a true delegate. They were taught how to raise a motion, how to vote on a motion to pass or fail it, what to say when you want to ask a question or give an answer and many more.
Every delegate of BANMUN 2011 stayed true to the nation he or she was representing and that is what made this conference a raging success in giving its participants a taste of having power and knowing how to use it to benefit ones country. AnamHossain, delegate of Iran says, “It was so close to becoming a real diplomat. Making policies, allies, resolutions -- absolutely thrilling!”
The closing ceremony took place in the beautifully elegant Dhaka University Senate Hall. The participants got a taste of what it feels like to be seated in true parliamentary setting, with microphones in front of them. Insights were provided to the aspiring diplomats by real ones. Mohamed Mijarul Quayes, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a delightfully informative speech about the art of negotiation.
Awards were distributed in three categories -- best position paper, best delegate and outstanding performance. “Definitely a major boost to my confidence and self-empowerment!” says Anam Hossain as he received his best delegate trophy.
BANMUN 2011, UNYSAB encouraged the youth to come forward and present their skills, ideas and opinions while working together to tackle the issues of food security in the context of Bangladesh and succeeded in doing so magnificently. The conference was organised in collaboration with ActionAid, United International University (UIU), Dhaka University Model United nations Association (DUMUNA) and Nestea.