Traveling some 5,506 miles away from home, members of the ISP debate team made their journey to The Hague, the Netherlands to collaborate and debate with students from over 200 schools. First organized in 1968, THIMUN is an international debate conference, which takes place at the end of January each year in the political capital of the Netherlands, The Hague. The five-day simulation of the United Nations requires the delegates to discuss different issues regarding the world in a variety of categories, such as world health, criminal justice, or sustainable development. Each year, the conference has a different theme that all the issues relate towards. This year, the theme for the 51st conference of THIMUN was “Living in a Globalized World.”
Although THIMUN is also a model of the United Nations, it is different than PANAMUN and most other conferences ISP students attend. Fenna Sigmond, a 10th grader, described her experience saying, “I found THIMUN to be very entertaining because it had a few procedure differences from other conferences and it was on a larger scale.” THIMUN provides a wide range of committees for the delegates, with larger committees having up to 6 issues for delegates to debate. There is an “Expert Chair” for each issue, who is responsible for the discussion over the topic. Gabrielle “Gigi” Hodes, a junior at ISP, shared her experience as a chair at the conference, “Writing my issue bulletin for my committee and doing research made me feel prepared to coach the delegates and help them throughout the conference. I wasn’t expecting my issue to be the most popular of the four, but I was pleasantly surprised and glad that the resolutions we debated on it all passed. I really love being able to meet super amazing people from all over the world and collaborate with them through the lens of debate and diplomacy.”
Since THIMUN is such a big affair, and the committees are quite large, there are no requirements for position papers and not everyone does opening speeches. However, delegates are still expected to be prepared and well-informed on their topics. “I initially read my issue bulletins and then researched the country assigned to me, India. Then, I investigated more about how India is affected by the issues. I also researched and thought of solutions. After this, I felt prepared for the conference,” sophomore Hamza Yaafar, shared.
Students also appreciate that THIMUN doesn’t have any awards, providing a better experience for delegates and helping them to focus on solving the issue instead of winning. “It was quite different to the other conferences I have gone to because of a lack of detrimental competitiveness and more collaboration. In my opinion, this allowed for a better debate,” Yaafar expressed.
It has been many years since the first MUN, yet these conferences are still extremely popular and relevant among the students. When students come together in THIMUN, they aim for a better future for society and the world as they search for the most effective solutions to the issues that plague our communities. “It was a great experience for me. I really enjoyed and I hope to continue traveling to these conferences and indulge in the debates.” Sigmond concluded.