SEOMUN is one of the many annual Model United Nations (MUN) conferences around the world, a simulation of United Nations conferences in which students pose as delegates of different countries and come together to solve real-world issues from the perspective of their assigned countries. SIS too has an MUN club that selects students through an application process in order to earn a spot at MUN conferences. Every year, SIS sends students from the MUN club to participate in different conferences in both Asia and Europe. This year, the 22nd SEOMUN, the largest MUN conference in Korea, will take place at Seoul Foreign School from Nov. 8 to Nov. 10.
“While it would have been great to see this year’s conference being hosted at COEX, as it had been for the past few years, I am excited to see one of the other international schools in Seoul hosting and organizing this event on their own campus,” said James Kowalski, MUN adviser. “It may lend a welcoming yet competitive spirit to the event.”
The theme for the conference this year is “The Future We Want,” inspired by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro and recent attempts at combating climate change and global warming. Although the theme is different each year, SFS did make a significant change for SEOMUN XXII—they made the decision to host SEOMUN at their own school instead of hosting the event at COEX as other schools have done in previous years. An advantage is that SFS is located in the quiet Seodaemun district, where students can avoid the chaos of the busy city and enjoy the serenity of the green landscape surrounding the school. As this year’s conference is geared towards sustaining a green environment, the school’s verdant setting seems perfect for such a theme.
“SFS students as a community have been supporting sustainable practices within our school through reducing plastic use and paper use,” said Jaesun Lee, SFS student and Director General of Technology for SEOMUN XXII. “As for our secretariat team, our chairs and delegates and our admin staff, we have been working on fully exploring the theme of The Future We Want in order to more effectively prepare ourselves for the conference.”
There have, however, been some concerns raised about the new venue changes. Some students have argued that the hosting the conference at a school will make the occasion less formal than the previous SEOMUN conferences that were held at a formal conference hall within COEX. Some students have also complained about the school’s location, which is farther in distance than COEX, a mall located at the heart of Gangnam. But this backlash against the venue has been countered by positive responses. Many believe that the familiar setting of a school will help international students and younger, inexperienced delegates feel more comfortable.
“I have already participated in a MUN conference called SKYMUN in SFS before,” said Hugh Kang, member of the SIS MUN club. “It was a huge change in setting, but I thought it was a positive change because participating in MUN at a school felt more comforting and welcoming. I think the new venue change will definitely enrich and diversify my SEOMUN experience because for the past few years, it has always been the same COEX venue.”