The Point of Pointless Debating-Why do I hate MUN conferences?

The Point of Pointless Debating-Why do I hate MUN conferences?

Note From Editor: This is the Kick-starter article for our debate-centered, Cover Story of the Month Feature. If you have differing opinions, We invite you to send us rebuttals to this article. Happy Debating!

If we consider the history and evolution of Model United Nations – a simulation of UN meetings with discussions over various current geopolitical issues, we will come to know just how hard and long people work to come up with complete nonsense. Dear Nation, a pestilence is upon us, a plague of nonsensical rubbish, because as we know, despite its pseudo-intellectuality, inflated egotism, and breeding of pointless leadership, the MUN is now more popular than ever.

Sufferers of this disease are increasing in number. Thousands per annum stray away from reality to indulge in blissful café ‘gramming sessions, and tweeting every bit of their day to an unreality – a simulated farce of epic proportions.

Perhaps I am biased, for I have never tasted the sweet nectar of the raging beach rave party, or the elation felt at a perfect MUN Facebook display picture, but should we really not consider the reality of the MUN? That it is fundamentally useless, and epically so, and yet it is, like many other competitions in our ultra-competitive educational environment, extremely common. So let’s question its real worth.

Supporters of the MUN argue that it boosts up the confidence and self-esteem of even the shiest flowers that even though some candidates are better prepared than others, everyone gets to speak. To those people I say, is that necessarily a good thing? Have you noticed that these kids probably shouldn’t be spreading anymore idiocy than they already are and that boosting their confidence will do exactly that?

“Thousands per annum stray away from reality to indulge in blissful café ‘gramming sessions, and tweeting every bit of their day to an unreality – a simulated farce of epic proportions.–Humna Farooqui

Because yes, the youth of Pakistan may feel elated at the moment they finally change the profile pictures portraying collages of their ugly friends for their birthdays, but can we not close our eyes on how our youth have lost their way? I ask you this; does this make-believe conference truly do what it sets out to? Does it engage the youth with current affairs?  Does it really educate them on matters of urgency?

Does it equip participants to handle the predicament of Kim Jung Un and of the North Korean missile threat? Do they even know why The Interview was cancelled? Or how hilarious his face is, like his pathetic attempts at self-glorification are just satire material? Do they know that the tiny dictator’s a complete psychopath with his ego, the size of Asia?

Does it illicit a nuanced, articulate, complex debate on the current problems we face as a race? Does it solve any problems whatsoever? Is an amateurish attempt at grown-up talk, what is merely a role-playing game even capable of doing that? Some delegates engaged in this nonsense may leave knowing slightly more that they they did, but this ‘practice’ for the real world, for the real UN is a child’s game, an embodiment of the passivity that rules the organization, of what doesn’t work about it.

In this farce of acting like they know what they’re doing, delegates forget that the stuff they are discussing so casually is what’s really happening out there, and the claim that this conference breeds leadership is put in to question when the leaders never act. They never solve the complex issues that are at hand or even come up with a coherent, eloquent debate about it at most of the times. And just like the UN, they ignore the real, pressing issues, those that could kill us, or someone else a few miles away, because they can’t really handle it, or it’s not so cool to be debated on.

The UN ignored the problem of climate change practically for years before holding the climate-change conference in September 2014, which was the hottest year on record (yes due to human-made climate change, don’t let Fox news or the silence of our media and government tell you otherwise). Also the Israel and Palestine issue, has it ever been resolved? Much of the UN’s passivity has not worked for the world, and instead of following the same framework, we could be innovating and revolutionizing it. But of course, we’re too busy arguing over the Kashmir issue, based on fact sheets we read the night before. We waste our time on baseless, fruitless debates that lead to no real solution in the outside world. Not even a petition.

Of course they are simulating the UN after all; it’s not their job to even think of anything practical. So it seems like MUNs have their hands tied when it comes to significant issues, or perhaps it’s not worth their time either.

Or are these mock debates merely a mockery of the UN because despite its failures the UN, unlike the MUN is more worthy, more valuable. Time and resources are well-spent on it. MUNs on the other hand are not smart endeavours and are a plundering of resources in educational institutions. The UN is what the world needs, do we need MUNs? And so many of them at that? Does every university, every school and college in Pakistan need to be having them? Is it an essential part of the education process or merely resignation to the fact that it is the biggest trend to hit schools since sneakily texting during classes?

It seems often times that delegates are only selectively informed about geopolitical issues, since this is not the path to greatness, but the path to socializing. MUNs’ popularity does not necessarily suggest an end to ignorance of current affairs, but rather a problem that exists within the same circle of ignorance. It is merely a means for social competence for many, and does not really entail intelligent conversations are being held. Everyone just really wants to come see Strings perform live.

Staging the actual event, the entire theater of it all, costs so much of our energy and resources that we could be using on worthwhile endeavors instead. Perhaps building more libraries for all schools involved in this madness? A 3000 Rupee donation from every participant might be better spent here. Oh, of course it needs to be interactive – how about having them help build it and then having that count as community service. Or maybe keep the money, keep the MUNs and have the discussions engendered there act as a means for social change. You have all these heads together, make them come up with solutions to social problems we face as a society, as a race, and pass resolutions that could be put to use in the practical world. Since this is the Mini UN, I’d say start with easier issues, but have year round conferences with actual practical ramifications which might make this MUN, a worthier endeavour to take on.


(Disclaimer: This article is reflective of the author’s personal opinions. They do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of SUBLOG.)


About The Author

Humnah Farooqi
A budding writer; a bookworm, and paradoxically friendly, misanthrope.
  • Khurram Khalid Iqbal

    Very well thought of, after participating in my first parliamentary debate, I too, realized how MUNs were no more than just a waste of my time, money and energy, and the same resources that are used up here, can be put to much better use if we actually looked over the trends to be followed. Parlis’ can actually broaden the mind, and polish that ‘leadership skill’ we try to use as an excuse for MUNs.

  • Raza Ghani

    Well i would like to say that you’re not wrong but the thing is that we are not taking these debates seriously , we can use our solutions and frameworks in the real world , the problem is people attend MUNs for certificates and BD shields yet when they step out of the committee room they have no concern on fixing the actual matter by actually discussing them with friend, family etc . The reason I attend these conferences is that not for a BD nor for a peice of paper for participation, I attend it for actually finding out about these manners so that i can solve these issues when i grow up. To be honest many conferences i have attended are just for the purposes you mentioned in your article. The day i stepped in my first committee session i did not care about any awards , the only thing i wanted to do was to bond and make a bloc, in my first MUN i made bloc against P5 countries as according to my stance , I not only formed a bloc but also taught everyone what to say so that our bloc could show some strength even though it was my first MUN , working day and night on the last day i bursted into tears because i was ot awarded , i am not fool that i dont know the judging criteria and i saw clear biasness , what is the point of rigging in the name of a peace keeping Organisation, after that i did not give up and carried this activity on finally in my previous MUN i was shown appreciation with a best position paper award , what i learned was that being truly diplomatic, honest and kind is not the way for an award , only mean, backstabbers and evil minds get these awards. Only MUNIK recognised my talent ! yet others have just cheated , sorry to say but MUNs are not improving anything cuz we are not brining difference in our selves because of it .

  • KSJ

    I appreciate your idea that one should spend those finances in charity that would fulfill basic human necessities of people but when I was done reading I read your ‘About the author’ section that states that you’re a misanthrope Humna. So yea, it does lead to some contradictions that a person who is antagonistic towards humans could come up with such ideas.

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