“The best delegate brings out the best in other delegates”
“Collaboration instead of competition” is the idea stressed by Mr. Leiden while explaining how to be a successful delegate. Mr. Leiden recently visited Panama with Best Delegate, an organization experienced with over 110 conferences, with the goal of not only explaining PANAMUN to the young Middle School delegates, but of spreading the message of how to be a good delegate. On Wednesday, September 5th, Mr. Leiden, held a workshop for Middle School delegates to understand MUN and to give advice on debating. He began by explaining his background and how debate has had a positive impact on his life. He explained how debate helped him develop his leadership skills, and discover his own potential; something that will be possible for all the students participating. The students ranging from 5th to 8th grade were able to understand the true meaning behind PANAMUN and how it is more than just a debate.
Mr. Leiden went over a range of topics, maintaining a simplicity that the students could understand while conserving the formality and seriousness that is required throughout PANAMUN. While introducing the usefulness of PANAMUN, a slide came up titled “MUN IS FUN”, where Mr. Leiden proceeded to explain that, with the right attitude and mentality, this conference could be as rewarding as it is fun. The presentation continued with Mr. Leiden explaining the 5 steps of PANAMUN; Research, Debate, Negotiation, Resolution, and Action. While explaining the processes behind all of these steps, Mr. Leiden continuously referred back to what makes a delegate a good delegate: Collaboration. He explained how having the loudest voice in the room does not mean it is the best, and that the goal is not to win the debate, but to solve the issue at hand. The young delegates began to understand this more and more, and students had an opportunity to practice this and opening speeches. Students at this point learned the important role they must play in PANAMUN of stepping into the shoes of a diplomat and representing their country, and themselves, to the best of their ability.
This will be the first year with Middle School committees and, as the younger delegates learn the skills of debate, PANAMUN’s potential and success continues to grow. Mr. Leiden managed to create an environment where students not only wanted to learn about PANAMUN, but became excited for it. Through events such as these, students manage to become more prepared for the upcoming conferences. Hopes are high for the young delegates and for this upcoming PANAMUN XXVI conference.