By Andrew Lau (19A01B), chairperson
Ever wondered what it would be like to speak at the United Nations? Ever wanted to go out and socialise, but still tell your parents that you were going for an ‘academic activity’? Ever thought about what it would be like to roleplay a crazed, power-hungry dictator? If yes, then HSTA is the CCA for you.
HSTA might stand for the Historical and Strategic Affairs Society, but our members are neither historians nor chess maestros. Rather, we’re RI’s Model United Nations (MUN) club, and one of the oldest such clubs in Singapore.
What is MUN?
For those of you who have never been to a MUN before, MUN conferences are two- to four-day events, where participants get to dress up in formal attire, represent various countries in UN committees, and gather to debate and present solutions to address the pertinent issues of the day. But if this sounds too dry, fret not: MUNs, besides testing your grasp of current affairs, also reward those who are best able to gather the support of others, lead their bloc, and inspire a shared vision for their committee. In short, MUNs are a holistic exercise where your academic smarts, leadership, communication skills, and above all, your ability to think on your feet will be tested. At the end of the conference, awards such as Best Delegate will be given out to those have made the largest contributions to their committees; if solely gunning for awards isn’t your thing, you can also look forward to socialising during the Dinner and Dance, and making new, like-minded friends from other schools!
What do we do?
HSTA generally runs MUN trainings for CCA members – these would take the form of simulations of UN committees, skill trainings (e.g. speech workshops), and other fun activities such as crisis simulations. These are sessions where you get to play a specific character and challenge your wits and imagination, whether it be in stopping Godzilla, defeating an alien invasion, or planning a colony on Mars. (For more information on what goes on in a crisis simulation, head on over to biglizardattack.tumblr.com. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.)
This year, as part of our initiative to broaden training activities, you can also look forward to a joint training session with our counterparts from HCI and ACS – you’ll get to have fun, meet new people, and pit your skills against the best in the circuit.
Having said that, MUN trainings and MUN in general may sound daunting if you’re a newcomer, but rest assured! Our CCA sessions are conducted by our Y6s who have years of experience in the circuit and have bagged numerous awards at Singapore’s most prestigious conferences, the most recent one being a Best Delegation (i.e. best-performing school) and multiple Best Delegate awards at the Singapore Model United Nations 2018. Through our trainings, you’ll learn skills such as lobbying, debating, resolution writing, and ultimately be able to look at current issues through a more critical lens – a skill that will serve you well not only in MUN, but in your other subjects as well. (We’re Gavel Club, Debates and RECAS rolled into one ☺)
Trainings are on Wednesdays, 2.30-5.30pm.
Anything else besides going for MUNs?
In addition to trainings, HSTA is also in charge of organising the Raffles Model United Nations, RI’s flagship MUN conference targeted at secondary school students (and, dare we say, Singapore’s most prestigious secondary school MUN conference). RMUN usually attracts more than 300 students from all over Singapore, and HSTA members will be involved at all levels of the conference, from conference planning, logistics, administrative duties, and of course, serving as chairs and academics directors.
In addition to RMUN, we also organise Fun With MUN, a pre-RMUN preparatory workshop for MUN novices, to help them better prepare and orient themselves for the conference. As Y5s, this will be the main event that you will be involved in planning and executing.
Who should join HSTA?
Anyone with a passion for current affairs and diplomacy is welcome to join HSTA!
Don’t worry if you haven’t MUNned before – we assure you that the learning process will be a fun and meaningful one, and many of our newcomers have also gone on to bag prestigious accolades at university-level conferences upon joining HSTA.
And if you’ve participated in MUN in secondary school, then we hope you can join HSTA as well, not only to guide those without prior experience, but also to take yourself to the next level as a delegate, chair, and a diplomat. ☺
If you’re interested and want to know more, do contact any current HSTA members or come down to our booth at Open House! Of course, we hope to see you at our CCA trials as well!