Eight Indonesian high school students from the Sekolah Indonesia Nederland (SIN) in Wassenar, the Netherlands, are taking part in a UN General Assembly simulation at the Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) foundation on 27 Janruary-1 February, 2013.
The SIN student team is the only representative of Indonesia, that is playing a role as a delegation of Papua New Guinea at THIMUN with Energy and Sustainability issues as the main theme, THIMUN Director of the SIN team Arbayah Kumalawati said here Friday.
The participants are playing the role as diplomats representing a particular country or a non-governmental organization in such simulated sessions of the United Nations committees as the Security Council and the General Assembly.
"At this event the students act as delegates of Papua New Guinea to discuss international issues such at the UN General Assembly together with thousands of other students from different countries," she said.
According to Arbayah who is an English teachers, the eight students of SIN were divided into three UN parts in the General Assemby, the UN Commision and the Special Conference to address several different issues.
"Various international issues are being discussed on the model of the UN General Assembly covering political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental topics," Arbayah said.
The SIN THIMUN team members consist of six students from grade one and grade three each and two students from grade two. They are Olga Maharani Yuvia (17) who serves in the Sub-Commission 1 discussing environmental issues, Sandhi Ahsani Taqwim (17) in the General Assembly 3 on social, humanitarian and cultural issues, Shabilla Ghizani (17) in the General Assembly 4 of special political and decolonization, and Kevin Weninck (16) who deals with legal issues in the General Assembly 6.
Meanwhile, the four other students are Avi Adriantama (16) and Ibrahim Sharif Prime (17), who each serve on the Sub-Commission 1 and 2 on the areas of disarmament, Dwiki Wahyu Pratama (15) in the General Assembly of environment and finance, as well as Royyan Dzakiy Abdullah (16) who serves in the Special Conference Sub-Commission 1.
THIMUN, which was first held in 1968, is a simulation of the UN General Assembly participated in by the high school level students aiming to educate the participants about contemporary events, international relations, diplomacy and the United Nations agenda, a SIN trainer Safreni C Sari explained.
Shabilla Ghizani who is serving as the ambassador of Papua New Guinea in THIMUN 2013 said the UN model assembly is very dynamic.
"As a state delegation we should understand international issues, and be able to convey our ideas to resolve the issues. It makes us thoughtful," she said.
Sandhi Ahsani Taqwim said THIMUN gave participants the opportunity to meet and mingle with colleagues from countries with different cultures.
"We are discussing seriously international issues, but the atmosphere is very fun," he said.
Meanwhile, Kevin Weninck said the discussion of international issues at THIMUN required sufficient understanding of the facts so that delegates can submit and defend their ideas in formulating resolutions.
"We are discussing the issue of the genocide in Rwanda that had happened 20 years ago and involved two ethnic groups. Before we set up the `code of conduct` for the judges in the courts, we should fully understand the incident," he explained.
Acting a diplomatic delegation is also interesting to the participants of THIMUN, he said.
Avi Adriantama said besides mastering global issues in the world, the team also had to learn the profiles of Papua New Guinea, the country of they represent at THIMUN.
"It trains our personality as a delegation of Papua New Guinea in an international forum and what contribution this country could give to deal with a conflict," he said.
According to Royyan Abdullah Dzakiy Papua New Guinea is rich in natural resources that interest developed countries, and thus the abundant potentials should be protected from excessive exploitations.
Although Papua New Guinea is a small country but with the abundance of its natural resources the country has a strategic position in the international political world which cannot be underestimated, he said.
The SIN THIMUN team members said their participation in the international youth activities is an opportunity to train communication skills especially in English and critical thinking in addresing an issue that involves many parties, in addition to expanding relationships, insights and perspective.
"We are trained to listen, make critical decisions with a rational basis, and express thoughts in an official way," Syarif Ibrahim Sharif Perdana said.
Olga Maharani Yuvia cited environmental problems such as plastic waste dumped in the oceans was at threatening stage to the ocean life and humans who use marine resources, moreover the waste is a cross country due to waves transport.
"We are initiating educational programs in developing countries to preserve the marine environment as part of community life which is one of solutions to the plastic waste in the ocean problem," she said.
According to Dwiki Wahyu Pratama, the involvement of youth in the UN General Assembly model fosters social sense to consider problems faced by others and to think for their future together.
"The leadership are also built. Moreover, we have to speak in front of audience. It builds self-confindece," Abdurrahman Helmi Azmi (17) who played the role ofa Central African delegation at THIMUN 2011 said.
The United Nations General Assembly model in the Hague is a medium for the Indonesian youth delegation to build their competence in the international forum, Arbayah said.
She said the ability of the students has increased not only in communicating in English with a formal way, but also be able to solve the problems encountered on a global scale.
During the preparation period, the students has conducted research on issues that they want to present and therefore they have enough information besides data as the basis to defend opinions and prepare a resolution.
In addition, the preparation also includes the ability of persuasion.
Like the negotiation process among countries at the international level that requires approach and lobby, THIMUN participants who have been put in a delegation group must also do the same (approach and lobby) in order to obtain support for the proposed resolution and be approved at the UN General Assembly.
According to Arbayah, the SIN team participation at THIMUN has become an annual program that aligns with one of the extra curricular activity namely a English Debating Training.
The opportunity to participate in the THIMUN is open to every student, but there is a selection process, she said.
"They have been selected based on English ability, concepts on international isues, personal interest and strong moral characters to seek a solution to the problem of the people and for justice," Safreni said.
At THIMUN 2012, the Indonesian Nederland School team students played a role as delegates from the Republic of San Marino, discussing marine issues.