Inspiring Minds and Enabling Leaders: Model United Nations and the Secondary School Interactive Crisis Simulation

Working as the Director for Training and Under Secretary General for Content at the Secondary School Interactive Crisis Simulation (SSICsim) Model United Nations conference, responsibilities included training staff in how to conduct their duties and guide delegates at conference. Since SSICsim is a conference that the University of Toronto hosts for high school students from across Ontario, this was an especially big task, as we only wanted the for these delegates, ranging in age from twelve to eighteen. While initially training staff in academic aspects of their duties, as the beginning of the conference got closer the focus to developing the creativity and improvisation skills of those involved. While Model UN is viewed as an academic extracurricular, instilling inventiveness and interpersonal skills in staff and delegates is actually one of the most important responsibilities of the academic branch the Secretariat, as these are the skills that members will take with them after they leave.

SSICsim is unique as it operates only Model UN crisis committees on a variety of including those of historical, fictional, and contemporary nature. This requires everyone from our delegates to our very own staff, to think outside of the box and offer new of view on the issues at hand. The fastpaced of SSICsim demanded a large team staff members. Working with a team of over 150 members was thrilling! The success of our was heavily dependent on their devotion and dedication. Our staff included moderators, crisis managers and staff. Directors were given complete autonomy over their own committees and fashioning the mechanics that would allow for a great for everyone involved. While directors constructed basic crisis plans of how the within their committees should develop, their staff was responsible for further on those ideas.They provided delegates with updates, which encouraged delegates look at issues from a fresh perspective. In preparation for the conference, we held creativity with the aim of emphasizing the importance of thinking on the spot and going with creative instincts. These workshops were a great way for our staff to meet and connect the several improv games we hosted.

The creativity of our directors was challenged only by the delegates of their committees. They wasted no time getting into the most vital issues of their committees, and their intelligence not only represented in the way they resolved conflicts, but also in the originality of the issue from different perspectives. They went above and beyond the plans set by their directors and crisis staff. In addition, their teamwork did not or overshadow their individuality. They each brought something new to the table, not because our staff encouraged that, but because they had it in themselves. It is common for to come to conferences with the aim of adamantly arguing their portfolio’s platforms, it was wonderful to see them work within the positions of their characters to work with others reach a common ground on approaches to the problems they faced.

Working with the SSICsim team this past year has been an absolute thrill. It’s given us opportunity to pass our past leadership experience on to others, but it has also given us the to learn more about ourselves, and further develop our own skillsets. Many people who part in Model UN, especially those who join as early as high school, have the confidence, and intelligence to become the leaders of tomorrow, and opportunities such as allow them to further work on their public speaking and teamwork skills. The majority of feedback we got from delegates was that it was a very rewarding and so we only hope that the skills they developed here will carry them on as they towards bigger goals.

WRITTEN BY: Spencer Russell (Under-Secretary-General for Content) and Roaa Shoukry (Director for Training), for the Secondary School Interactive Crisis Simulation (SSICsim) Model United Nations Conference.

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