LUMUN hosts Social Responsibility Programme MUN Conference
This past summer vacation, while others were relaxing at home, LUMS Model United Nations (LUMUN) Social Responsibility Programme (SRP) volunteers were hard at work, planning their third Summer Internship Programme with CARE, their partner organisation. The programme’s aim is to enhance the English skills of students from grade eight to FSc, who are attending government schools adopted by CARE. The programme is spread over twelve sessions with the students throughout June and July. Last year, it culminated in a CARE Model United Nations (MUN) conference in which shortlisted students participated in a MUN simulation conference.
Unlike the previous two years, however, this year’s programme focused solely on improving the public speaking skills of the participating students. Hafsa Rehman, the LUMUN SRP Director overseeing this project, says this change was implemented because, “We realised from the past internship programmes that we could not properly address all the areas of writing, reading comprehension and speaking skills in just twelve sessions.”
By focusing on just public speaking, however, they were able to enhance the students’ speaking skills exponentially and Rehman says that, “We certainly achieved a lot. On the first day, a majority of the students were too shy to answer our questions. Some of them would even cry for fear of speaking in front of others. On the last day though, we held a speech competition and the students were standing on their seats and proudly rehearsing their speeches!”
The students also had a chance to practice public speaking in the Programme’s finale, a one-day SRP MUN conference, which was sponsored by Rose Petal and simulated LUMUN’s own conferences. The conference had an opening and closing ceremony, a Global Village in which students got to visit stalls that displayed cultural artifacts from countries around the world, and three Model United Nations Committee sessions, including the Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) Committee, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM).
In the MUN Committee Sessions, CARE student delegates used the public speaking skills they gained from the Summer Internship Programme to discuss issues as complex as “Demilitarisation along the LOC in Kashmir,” “Rights of Children Around the World,” and how women’s empowerment can be achieved through providing greater economic opportunities. All three MUN committees passed resolutions pertaining to the topics.
The CARE students also had a chance to meet personalities like Justice (retd.) Nasira Javaid Iqbal, a retired Judge of the Lahore High Court, and Kathryn A. Kiser, the Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate. Justice Iqbal was the Chairperson for the SRP MUN 2011, while Kiser distributed the awards to the students.
Kiser said, “The skills participants learned in this programme; the ability to hold dialogue and debate, the ability to reach consensus and to collaborate; are the keys to building a successful future, not just for Pakistan, but for the world.”
According to Rehman, “The aim of the Programme was to bring a change in every capacity possible. Through this internship programme, I think we have done just that!”
As seen on the SRP MUN conference day, Rehman says, “By the end of the internship, the students were organising their thoughts clearly. They knew they had to give an introduction, make a solid argument, prove those arguments by supporting them with solid facts, and give a conclusion.”