Saturday, 2 September 2017

MUN@Neev: Our last day at HMUN

15th August 2017

Today was the last day of Harvard Model United Nations, India, 2017. All us woke up sad that it was the last committee session for this year’s HMUN conference. It had been a great, learning-filled experience for us. It seemed like these four days had flown by. Nevertheless, the four days had opened a new door for us, leading us to newer worlds.

On this day, we summed up the topic on our agenda by the adopting one resolution, and passing press releases and directives. We had to vote for a resolution that provided the best solution to the issue. The past few days had been about teamwork and collaboration, but voting was individual. Alas, some of our committees were unable to pass any resolution as consensus could not be reached. However, it is to be remembered that we as a committee did still achieve a lot – the ideas and thoughts discussed, and developed to solve the issues will be remembered. And someday we hope the world will imbibe some of the youthful ideals that are embodied in these resolutions. We entered the committee hall as eager children and left the hall as open minded, wiser adolescents.

After all the hard work that we had done, our directors allowed us to let loose! We danced in our committee halls, we played games, we voted on such things as ‘The cutest delegate’ or ‘The most dramatic delegate’.  

Later, the Secretary General, Kelsey Young gave awards to outstanding delegates and declared the end of HMUN India’s 7th session. It was time to bid adieu to friends we had made during our wonderful experience in Hyderabad.  As we looked at our fellow delegates and committee directors for the last time, each of us felt that we had been part of something bigger than ourselves and learnt something other than information and facts. We had learnt how to cooperate. To collaborate. To be diplomatic. We had learnt a little more about the beautiful world we live in and were determined to solve some of its problems.

We later checked out of the hotel and embarked on a one-hour journey to the airport. In the backseat of the bus, we recalled old memories of school trips and listened to music. The time for serious speeches had passed and we were determined to enjoy the last few hours of the trip. In the flight, a few of us proudly wore our maroon Harvard sweatshirts (not just because it was cold, but because we were proud to have attended a conference hosted by an Ivy League institution).

At 8:00 pm, we landed in Bangalore. We were glad to be reunited with our families. And so, ended our HMUN trip. In a way, it was our first taste of reality. In school, there aren’t many people in a class. In HMUN there were over a hundred people in many committees. These huge numbers brought out the importance of making oneself heard. In such a large committee, only a few are noticed, only a few are remembered. Just like it is in the world. There are only a few significant individuals that everyone knows and remembers. They are the ones who speak out. Who make people listen. Who give a little back to the world. In HMUN, the youth of today tried to give a little back to the world. We had had an enriching experience and look forward to more MUN opportunities, after all we are the youth, the ones who make the future.

Mehr Sohal

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

MUN@Neev: Preparing for HMUN 2

The preparation for HMUN continues! We have had many webinars so far and the second and third have been extremely helpful in our journey. In these webinars we were introduced to structuring an argument and giving effective speeches.

In the second webinar, which was about structuring an argument, we discussed how to create an effective argument which will encourage other delegates to side with your position and work in favour of you. One of the main points highlighted through the webinar were that we as delegates have to understand what other nations want and have to critically understand how we can portray and make amendments to our solutions in order to gain more allies. This connects to the learner profile of open mindedness as delegates have to understand how to implement their ideas while taking others positions into consideration as well.

In webinar 3, we discussed how to make effective speeches. We talked about vocal intonation and physical actions that would help us keep our audience and not lose them. We learnt that we have to be clear and comprehensible. We have to use language that is easy for the audience to understand. We have to cut down our arguments to 1 minute or less.

We are looking forward to attending the webinars and expanding our knowledge while developing lifelong skills at the same time.
Sarah and Kriti

MUN@Neev Team

Thursday, 20 July 2017

MUN@Neev: Preparing for HMUN

This year a few MUN students from Grades 8 and 9 will be participating in the Havard Model United Nations in August. The HMUN is a forum for high school delegates to debate and discuss international issues such as the Status of Women, Child Abduction and Rights, Cybersecurity, among several others. 
    We have been attending extra classes after school to complete research on the committees and the topic. These classes are a platform for us to have our queries answered, decide on deadlines for our work, research, and discuss procedures. 
    On the 5th of July, the Neev Munners had their first after-school session for the Harvard Model United Nations. We worked together in our respective committees. In this session, we focused on reading the background guides. A background guide is an extremely factual document compiled by the directors of HMUN to help us get familiar with the committee and its related topic .  
    This first session in preparation for the HMUN has energised us. We are excited to work hard and want to do well!

Mehr Sohal, Grade 8
Aarushi Mutreja, Grade 9

MUN@Neev Team

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Makalidurga Trek Report

Date: 7 July, 2017, Friday
Grade: 4 (A and B)

Students of Grade 4 (A & B) went on an exploration trek to the area around Makalidurga on Friday, 7th July, 2017. It is just a two and a half hour drive from Bangalore near Doddaballapur, offering various options to visitors like Bird watching, Trekking, Bouldering, and Rappelling. The place stands on top a huge granite hillock, huddled up amidst the chains of mountains, formed like a valley closer to Ghati Subramanya, a well-known pilgrimage center. It has a fort on top, at the height of 1,350 mts and a huge lake at the base of the hillock. You will get the glimpse of the mountain train; passing through the valley at the foothills of these Mountains.

We started from school at 6am and reached the foothills at around 8 am. Ms Kavitha Reddy and her group of mountaineers were with us to guide us and help us through the trek. From the moment we got close to Makalidurga we were stunned by how quiet and serene the location was. We saw a chain of hillocks and a lake at the foothills playing hide and seek with the fields all around. The trek was to take us to the well known Makalidurga fort, which is located right on the top of a granite hillock. Students were excited and worried that they had to trek up to the top of fort which was about 1700 meters (about 3 kms). The track had abundant overgrown grass and plantation. We managed to see a few locals who had got their cattle to graze. Ms Kavitha told us that this mountain also boasted of leopards that usually came out in the night. The twist and turns along the trail are guided through by red and white arrow marks throughout. As we reached halfway up, we stopped for a break. The view from there was breathtaking. At the base of the foothills, we saw a beautiful lake in the shape of the South American continent. Ms Kavitha told us that the rain that flows down the hillocks has formed the lake.

We continued the trek and reached the top by mid noon. We were amazed to see the fort premises surrounded by walls and gates which depict the history behind it. We were told that the fort was used by the Vijaynagar Empire to train their army. This was later captured by the Shivajis, which was again captured by Kempegowda. We stopped there to marvel at the genius of our ancient rulers who used these land forms to build their forts. We also saw a temple which is still used by the locals.

The lake and the horizon of the endless sky from the top of the hillock were spectacular to capture. The trek up was more or less a standard one with the only tricky part being the climb getting steep abruptly at regular intervals which took a considerable effort to pull through.

We had a session with Mr Kunal, where he spoke about the importance of regular exercise on our health. He also spoke about breathing rate and how it changes with exercise. He spoke about the importance of a healthy lifestyle on overall well being. Students also reflected on how they felt hot as they started climbing up and were sweating. When they reached uphill and rested they started feeling cool as the sweat started evaporating. We pointed out that this is a way the body maintains a balance in terms of body temperature. We also told them that this is called homeostasis which they will inquire more about. Students also reflected on the challenges they faced uphill and how they developed strategies to overcome it.

We rested for a bit, had lunch and took the same path down. Getting down was a bit more challenging as the force of gravity was with us and hence we needed more control. Ms Kavitha shared a good strategy with our students in which she asked them to walk sideways and put the ankle before the toes. With perseverance and grit, we managed to come down. We were exhausted but satisfied that we all had challenged our inner weakness and reached to the top. For the children, it wasn't easy but they showed a lot of courage, independence and cooperation. The PSPE outcomes of this trek were definitely worth it.

Friday, 5 May 2017

MUN@Neev: WIMUN Diaries - Day 4

Tuesday – 2 May 2017

Today we finished the final resolution as a committee. We finished the review using the Vienna Formula and we moved on to the line-by-line review. In this stage, we learnt how to apply preambular and operative terms (further, recommends, suggests, ... ).

Committee I
Our Vienna formula session took very long but we managed to finish it and moved on to the review where we went through each line and proposed amendments. If the sponsors agreed to the amendments, the paragraph was marked 'agreed as ref ', if not, we opened the floor to informal consultations with other delegates.
Throughout this process, I reflected on the importance of time management and communication skills.

Committee III
After we had finished the first line by line review, we realised the need to shorten the resolution (ours was 24 pages long!). I came up with the idea that we could segregate the operative paragraphs under their topics and make one paragraph for each. Soon, everything was organized and we managed to finish in time. 
My greatest learning was when I had stood up and took charge at the time when I felt my committee had come to a halt. I applied and developed my leadership, time management and organisational skills.

- Naviya and Sarah

Sarah and Aarushi, two of the sponsors of the resolution, take charge of the discussions