Home LearningDid You Know? More than 100 future leaders discuss pressing international issues at first online conference of Dubai International Academy’s Model United Nation (DIAMUN)

More than 100 future leaders discuss pressing international issues at first online conference of Dubai International Academy’s Model United Nation (DIAMUN)

by Eddie Rayner
Ambassador Umej Bathia
  • To ensure health and safety, DIAMUN’s twelfth edition evolved into a virtual event
  • This year’s event theme, ‘Redesigning a future though universal collaboration’, saw delegates frame their research in the context of the current pandemic

More than 100 student delegates from Innoventures Education schools discussed and debated topics reflecting pressing global concerns at the Dubai International Academy’s Model United Nations (DIAMUN) held on Saturday, June 27. 

Following the unprecedented cancellation of DIAMUN 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it became increasingly clear that Innoventures Education must adapt to the circumstances for students to have the opportunity to engage in fruitful and constructive debate. Although a face-to-face conference was not a viable option, DIAMUN, an integral part of the school community, still had a place in the academic year.

On June 27, from 10am to 1:30pm, DIAMUN hosted its first-ever online conference, open to students from all Innoventures Education schools. The opening ceremony, took place on Microsoft Teams Live, with an engaging speech from the conference’s Keynote Speaker and Guest of Honor, Ambassador Umej Bhatia, Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva and the United Nations Office in Vienna.

DIAMUN is one of the largest and most anticipated annual MUN conferences in the Middle East and sees participation from hundreds of students every year. Despite COVID-19 disruptions this year, the event still went ahead – evolving into the first-ever online DIAMUN. At Model UN conferences, students emulate a real United Nations committee or assembly, with each student representing a different country. Students get to hone their public speaking, problem solving, teamwork and research skills by participating in the event.

DIAMUN keynote speaker and guest of honor, Ambassador Umej Bhatia, highlighted the role of young people in designing a better world. “The theme of this year’s DIAMUN, ‘Redesigning the Future through Universal Collaboration’, is well suited to our contemporary reality. Nothing has highlighted our global interconnectedness and demonstrated just how crucial it is to have a well-functioning and robust multilateral system more than the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Poonam Bhojani, CEO of Innoventures Education said: “It is of vital importance that we work together to rise above the challenges our schools have faced so we can provide this opportunity to our students. Through collaboration and team work, we can find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. DIAMUN’s online edition still gave students the opportunity to help build character, develop leadership skills and cross-cultural understanding, vital skills needed in today’s fast-changing world. The need for debate, diplomacy, dialogue, and discussion between nations is more important than ever before.” 

Following the opening ceremony, the 100+ participating delegates split into separate meetings on Zoom for the six different committees: The Security Council, Human Rights Council, Economic and Social Council, Third General Assembly, World Health Summit and Youth Assembly. Within the committees, delegates began debate on pre-submitted clauses, using the recently-improved DIAMUN app for communication.

Issues discussed at DIAMUN 2020 reflected contemporary concerns, ranging from protecting humanity from pandemics, addressing the rise of misinformation campaigns, youth unemployment and planning the future of children in war-torn nations. Delegates were encouraged to frame their research and debate in the context of the impact of COVID-19. Each committee’s topic was also linked to the current situation as indicated in their respective research reports. The Executive Team for the conference added passages to each existing report which discussed the impact of COVID-19 in an effort to direct delegates towards that stream of thought within their own research and debate.

As Gautam Raj, Student Secretary-General, DIAMUN 2020, summarized: “DIAMUN 2020 has been a resounding success, despite the COVID-19 disruption. Each committee developed feasible and effective solutions, following productive and fruitful debate. Participation levels from delegates were high thanks to successful moderation from the Student Officer team that seamlessly fostered discussions. We look forward to building on this success in the next edition.”