“Polarization is all around us and is a barrier that society poses between communities.” Mariana Colmenares, Secretary-General of PANAMUN’s 27th edition, said to the 9th graders and new students who were avidly listening to her intriguing message. Most of the students, which had little experience in debate, paid close attention as the regulations and Secretariats were introduced. Soon enough, they were all redirected into their small committees in order to begin an afternoon full of mock debates, resolutions and a lot of vegetables!
The soon-to-be delegates were placed into smaller groups in order to resemble the way the committees are divided. Once everyone was present, the delegates were introduced to each other by saying their names and a fun fact about themselves. This was the beginning of a wonderful orientation day to PANAMUN. The delegates were divided into two groups and were given various topics ranging from politics to fast food restaurants and each group was given one of those. Before the two teams were ready to challenge each other in a complex duel, they spoke and gathered information for their arguments. This resembles the “lobbying” section of PANAMUN, which takes place on the first day. When they finished the lobbying section, the delegates were told to introduce their arguments and follow such with questions in order to demonstrate “counter arguments.” this activity closed with the chairs giving advice to their delegates regarding the formalities and possible tips such as “fact checks.” According to Miguel Gomez, the chair for this years UNCTAD committee, this activity was introduced in order to encompass the mindset of a debater and to include that one should be ready for anything that other people can find against your delegation.The delegates were avidly debating with each other, and the tense environment faded.
The chairs transitioned to assign each of the delegates a fruit or a vegetable in order to create an actual simulation of how opening speeches should be. Each delegate created a short speech denoting why their assigned species was the preeminent one. They then combined their fruits and vegetables with other delegates to make the best salad in order to simulate resolutions. “blood bowls” and “coconut explosions” were some awesome creations which gave them the feel as to how resolutions are discussed and created. They were then allowed to vote in order to see if the salads or don’t pass. Just like a resolution, if the salad has the majority of votes, the resolution passes.
The chairs then introduced exit tickets in order to make the delegates ponder. They had to write about their experiences and concerns that arose after the busy afternoon.Overall, the soon-to-be delegates are now one step closer to becoming well suited for a debate
Mariana ended the assembly emphasizing the main idea of this years’ theme: “Through these theme, we are trying to build a bridge through polarization so that communities and social circles that are otherwise separated can come together.” This phrase arose some gasps of excitement from the crowd. With no doubt, it is going to be the best conference yet. We are really looking forward to this year’s PANAMUN conference… are you?