Who would have thought 400 middle and high school students debating their stance on global issues could be productive and beneficial? But that's exactly what happened at Shanghai Model United Nations XXII, or SHAMUN, hosted by Shanghai American School’s Puxi campus this month.
The student delegates simulated different committees of the United Nations and engaged in policy negotiations. For these researched speakers however, it was far from pretend.. As Alex F. '24, a SHAMUN admin, put it, "SHAMUN isn't a competition, it is where the future leaders of the world come and work together to solve the big problems in the world right now." Move over, UN, the kids are taking over.
With students from 16 schools around China participating, including students from Dalian and Beijing, this was one of the biggest SHAMUN conferences ever. And to make it even more special, all 400 students attended in person, a welcome break from the online events of the Covid era. But getting to this point wasn't easy. Planning for the event started about a year ago, when uncertainty about travel, closures, and rules of gathering kept pushing back the conference date.
Thankfully, though, restrictions were lifted, and gathering in person was once again allowed just like in the pre-Covid days. But then came too much of a good thing: as RSVPs rolled in, the number of attendees almost tripled from the anticipated 150 people to over 400. But SAS did what SAS does best: come together as a community to pull off the unthinkable. Teachers volunteered their classrooms, principals gave up their meeting rooms, and IT and cafeteria crew remained alert on standby. In other words, pulling off this year's SHAMUN was a whole school effort.
All the hard prep work paid off, though. With topics ranging from the prevention of human trafficking to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the delegates at SHAMUN passed more than 25 resolutions and hundreds of amendments. And they didn't just talk the talk; many students from both SAS Pudong and Puxi campus were awarded Outstanding Delegate and Honourable Mention awards. It's safe to say that these kids are way ahead of the curve when it comes to tackling global issues.
Middle schoolers who participated in SHAMUN also had the opportunity to learn and shine. According to Alex Z. ’25, many of them were new to MUN as well as speaking publically. However, with the help of their high school peers in the same committee, they slowly understood the issues through the debate process. "I think what is especially heartwarming is they leave the conference with a better understanding of the world and what's going on around the world right now," he said.
While students had a multitude of opportunities to practice their public speaking and debate skills, they walked away from the conference with some life lessons as well. Teresa C. ’25 shared that “MUN teaches you about picking your battles, prioritizing what’s important to you, and being reasonable to other people.” For Elaine S. ’24, MUN taught her how to see new perspectives. “Maybe you live in China or you’re from America, but when you have to take on the perspective of another country that you’ve probably never been to, then it broadens your horizons and makes you a more critical thinker. The MUN experience is really in line with SAS’s Learning Goals of being ethical global citizens.”
虽然学生们有很多机会练习自己的公开演讲和辩论技巧，但他们通过参加大会同样获得了一些生活方面的经验。SAS十年级学生Teresa C.分享道：“模拟联合国能够让你学会选择自己的战斗，优先考虑对自己来说重要的事情，以及对他人讲道理。”对于十一年级学生Elaine S.来说，模拟联合国教会了她如何接纳新视角。“可能你住在中国或者是你来自美国，但当你不得不从另一个自己可能从未去过的国家的视角看待问题时，这会开阔你的视野，让你成为一位更具批判性的思考者。模拟联合国的经历真的非常符合SAS的学习目标，即成为富有道德的全球公民。”
With students like these, we have no doubt that the world is in good hands.
Want to see 2 days of MUN in 2 minutes? Take a look at the experience from the eyes of Jake R. '23 and Daisy S. '24:
想不想在两分钟的时间里速览为期两天的模拟联合国大会？快来通过Jake R.和Daisy S.的视角体验一下吧：
A special thanks goes out to PTSA, who stepped in as volunteers to help ensure SHAMUN ran smoothly and was a success.
CHANGEMAKERS. EVERYDAY AT SAS.
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