The coronavirus lockdown marked the dawn of the youth initiative Stay at Home Model United Nations. It is a diplomacy and debate event for young people around the world, dedicated to giving them space to stand up and voice their opinions. SHMUN started out as a group of friends based in Morocco who wanted to make a difference.
Their journey to change the world for the better soon started by planning their 1st conference that will have taken place on April 30th. The team then got into contact with a person from the UK who offered to help run it.
The 30th April conference had 80 participants from over 25 countries around the world, including delegates in active warzones like Syria and Yemen. During the latter, a wide range of world issues were discussed in a mature and informative way:
“The best way to solve the Yemeni Civil War” at The United Nations Security Council
“The status of mental health in international human rights law” hosted by The United Nations Human Rights Council
“The degree of priority of diversity and equality in the developing economic world” discussed at The United Nations Economic and Social Council
“The best way to deal with extraterrestrial visitors” chaired by The United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
To cater for the least experienced delegates, a training session was provided. The usefulness of the coaching and the advice showed when a new delegate was nominated for an award.
After an outstandingly successful first iteration, they decided to hold another conference. Their ambitions grew, and so did the team after adding another person based in the UK. And in the future, they are hoping to further expand so that they can get closer to a united world.
SHMUN activities were recognized by Mr. António Guterres- Secretary General of the UN during his discussion of the UN’s global response to COVID-19. Their current core values are that Model United Nations, and education more generally, should be free, accessible and open to people regardless of their creed, color, sexuality, gender, race and religion.
What makes Stay at Home MUN unique is the fact that it allows you to take control. A lot of high school MUN conferences are prohibitive in that the agenda is often dictated by the chairs and organizers. By contrast, SHMUN allows you to take control of the agenda and debate issues which you are passionate about. Their conferences are also free and easily accessible via Zoom. That is, to assure the participation of everyone from the comfort of one’s home and an enriching experience.
SHMUN believes that despite being forced to stay at home, we can all be together. Indeed, we are separate in our homes, yet united in face of adversity. And our unity will let us overcome insurmountable challenges, even those the pandemic has placed us under.
They believe that, together, we can continue to show the world that youth is the future of world diplomacy. And together, we can show that we are strong.