Saint Pedro Poveda College held its first Model United
Nations Assembly on November 21, 2014. The theme for
this school year's MUNA was "The Role of Women
in Poverty Reduction".
In the past, most students only found an opportunity
to peer into and express their stand on issues faced
by our country and the international community within
the confines of a classroom, during the hour-long Social
Studies classes. Students would raise questions and
express their opinions on the country's state of affairs
in Balitaan sessions, and perhaps justify their reasoning
with some of the lessons learned in class. Although
there was always a steady supply of driven and opinionated
students, such news-sharing sessions and a few debates
here and there were seemingly the only available springboards
The Model United Nations Assembly's objective is to
educate students on international affairs, diplomacy,
and the fundamentals of the UN. Perhaps this was the
opportune moment to integrate the program into the curriculum;
it is aligned with the objectives of the K-12 program
to provide an education that encompasses all fields
and interests, and gave way for students to sink their
teeth into the historical, social, economic, cultural,
and political perspectives of foreign nations.
Prior to the event, a representative was chosen from
each batch in the high school department to be a delegate
at the Model United Nations hosted by the University
of Asia and the Pacific from 25 September 2014 to 27
September 2014. Maxine Gutierrez from Grade 7, Gabriella
Lagdameo from Grade 8, Gia Serrano from Grade 9, Sofia
Piñon from Grade 10, Leanza Lopez from 3rd Year,
and Andrea Ahyong from 4th Year were the selected students.
They were tasked to observe and absorb; once they returned
they had to pass on whatever they'd learned to their
respective batches as a means of preparation for the
school's own event. As for the author's own view on
the experience, it was an initially daunting task to
undertake, mainly because it was our first time and
very few high school students were in attendance. However,
the event was ultimately an effective learning experience.
In preparation for the school's own assembly, each
section had to provide a comprehensive and legitimately
sourced research on their assigned countries, with two
students selected as delegates per section. The chosen
delegates were trained by members of the UA&P and
Ateneo MUN, headed by UA&P's Secretary-General and
Poveda's invited Honorable Chair Mr. Nicolas Espinoza.
These students were trained on parliamentary procedures,
delivering speeches for debates, drafting resolutions,
and mastering the art of research; skills that would
prove useful not only upon presentation when speaking
at the assembly's podium, but also in the pursuit of
their future careers.
Poveda's first MUN was held on 21 November 2014. The
delegates, dressed in full business attire for the occasion,
looked the part of student-cum-ambassador. Having been
trained in the weeks prior, the students were pulled
out of their morning classes for the program's commencement,
opening remarks, and General Debate, which would not
be seen by an audience for the time being.
"Everyone was so scared of making mistakes, no
one could even motion to begin the MUNA ceremony.",
Nicole Garay, the delegate of Venezuela, recalls of
start of the program. It didn't take long for the initial
anxiety to fade, delegates soon joined the Speakers
List and gave speeches on their country's stand on the
issue and proposed solutions. In between speeches, delegates
formed working groups and drafted resolutions during
moderated and unmoderated caucuses. Two working groups
submitted their resolutions, before a lunch break that
preceded the main event which was viewed by Poveda's
entire high school department and visiting spectators
from Xavier. The goal of the audience's presence was
to educate the student body on how world leaders tackle
global issues and create significant policies.
The students filled the bleachers to witness what they
and their representatives prepared for the past months.
They were tasked to pay attention to Substantive Debate
proceedings in order to answer a passport-like booklet.
Kricket Kahulugan, a member of the audience, noted that
"(I believe that) they were diplomatic and tried
to reason out their ideas. They spoke objectively rather
than being biased about their personal feelings.".
Delegates debated on the resolutions at hand, giving
supportive or oppositional speeches and amending clauses.
With everyone watching, they were able to show off their
oratorical and snap decision-making capabilities for
the purpose of protecting their countries' interests.
In the end, the house proceeded to Voting Bloc and both
resolutions were passed. As the Chair's gavel marked
the conclusion of the year's assembly, the delegates
cheered and commended their peers as the audience and
members of the dais looked on with levity.
The establishment of MUNA in our school is perhaps
one of the most progressive moves we've taken in improving
our curriculum. The program not only aims to broaden
our knowledge on international affairs, but challenges
us to experience and understand the outlook of another
country as our own. Past outreach programs on how we
can be of help to our country and its less-privileged
communities are taken to the next level. How can we
be global citizens? How can the youth of today solve
the world's problems, when our own everyday quandaries
seem so inescapable and unsolvable? With the opportunity
to undertake the personification of a foreign sovereign
state, we not only sympathize and seek the vindication
and welfare of our assignment, we also realize that
sometimes the plights of those across the globe are
not uncommon to our own.