What’s in store for this year’s SISMUN?

Shanmathi and Elakkiya interview the MUN director, Mrs.Khan

Whats in store for this years SISMUN?

SISMUN is an annual event that has been hosted at SIS ever since the early 90s! In this event, students get a chance to experience what it’s like to participate in Model United Nations (MUN); a popular extracurricular activity in which students debate and discuss real-world issues while each representing a specific country. SISMUN has been adapted in various ways throughout the past two years due to the pandemic. Last year was especially unfortunate since the MUN event had to be cancelled. However, this year we can hope for a fresh restart with some modifications to the conduct of the MUN event. These modifications have been a particular point of confusion to many students, so the QQ took the opportunity to interview Ms. Khan, the director of SISMUN.

Regardless of the changes to the typical SISMUN, a wide range of relevant global issues are still being covered as always. The topics include climate change, malnutrition, the situation in Afghanistan, period poverty and stigma, financial flows to Africa, and aging populations.

How exactly is SISMUN being modified? “This year, we don’t have any guests. In the past, we’ve always had schools coming from countries like Denmark and Germany. We have smaller committees because of COVID. We will not have a closing ceremony, we’ve had to cancel that, so we won’t have a speaker. So I think things are “watered-down,” and on a much smaller scale because of the regulations that came in December,” says Mrs. Khan.

Such changes seem likely to have an impact on the essence of SISMUN, usually associated with school-wide interactions throughout the day and the memorable closing ceremonies. Though grades 6 and 7 have usually had internal conferences within their advisory group, the rest of the school has always had vertical mixing with grades 8 to 11 being mixed. Again, this is not possible this year due to restrictions. “I think that’s a shame, and the older students, the 9, 10, and 11s, were always placed with the guests, and this time they don’t experience that. Because I think part of MUN is networking, communication, and just meeting people, and that’s taken away. Even at the Saturday conference, traditionally we have 60 to 70 delegates in the auditorium, and this year it will be 37.”

The typical focus of SISMUN lies in the experience for the MYP students. Grade 12 students have not been participating in SISMUN over the past years, due to the deadlines of their final year of school. How will the day look for the grade 11s?

“For the grade 11s, because work was done by the SISMUN students in asking them what committee they wanted to be in, we don’t have enough students to form grade 11 committees as we do with grade 8 and 9. So they are going to be working on the same topics, but they’re going to be creating a zine.”

What are zines? The 11th-grade students have been planning and creating them together with the groups during Advisory lessons over the past weeks. “It’s basically self-publishing, a zine is just short for a magazine. And you can create it on whatever you want; it’s as creative as you want it to be. Again, this forms part of the CAS, because if there is a product that’s good enough and it’s copied and distributed, there’s the global issue that you’re working on, you’re doing something creative, and you’re doing the service. So that’s one of the reasons the zine was selected,” says Mrs. Khan.

As we have seen, the SISMUN 2022 experience will definitely be very different from before; in only a few more days, we will see whether the event still turns out successful. The event will take place all day this upcoming Friday, January 25. To wrap up, we asked Ms. Khan for her best advice for students to get the most out of SISMUN this year.

“I think you just have to participate. Participate, and speak. The more you do it, the more confident you will be. It’s also like a positive feedback loop: you say something, something else says something… the more you participate, the livelier it is, and the more enjoyable it is for everyone.”