“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.”
~ Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)
The Young Diplomats Society (YDS) was first conceived in 2008, as a student-initiated effort, and since then it has remained a largely student-run CCA.
YDS is motivated by two main aims:
Firstly, to enable each member to be better global citizens by empowering them with knowledge of the world around them; encouraging them to challenge conventional viewpoints, yet to consider and be open to the viewpoints of others; and equipping them with public speaking skills, ultimately honing and improving themselves through participation in Model United Nations (MUN) conferences.
Secondly, for YDS to be the premier, leading MUN and global affairs society among Singaporean schools and institutions, positively contributing to and making a difference in the local scene.
Some of you might be wondering, what exactly is a MUN? Well, MUNs are conferences that simulate the various organs of the United Nations, whereby students adopt the mantle of delegates representing countries, debating and deliberating over a range of issues from maritime concerns in the South China Sea to the regulation of nuclear weapons.
In fact, YDS annually organises two hallmark conferences, the International Model United Nations Conference (IMUNC), which will be in its Ninth Session this year, for secondary-level students, as well as the Middle East Summit (MES), which will be in its Fourth Session this year, for tertiary-level students. As members of YDS, you will have the opportunity to assume instructional, staff and organisational roles for both conferences.
As a CCA, YDS operates seasonally: training sessions are usually conducted once every fortnight, and intensifies closer to upcoming conferences such as IMUNC and/or MES. And, of course, attending actual MUN conferences. It is a requirement that you attend at least one conference a year, though you are free to sign up for more than that. There are usually about 12-15 conferences in our calendar year.
Ultimately, whether you might new to MUN or a seasoned MUNner, YDS promises you a fulfilling and meaningful experience. You will grow and mature as an individual, as well as work closely with others, forging memories to be cherished. While not many of us might end up as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the UN, or as the President of the UN Security Council, we can definitely benefit from becoming more confident public speakers, acquiring research and writing skills, getting to meet and network with like-minded individuals, and just generally knowing more about the world around us.
Satesh Kumar (6.17), President of the Young Diplomats Society of 2015-16, is from the graduating batch of 2016.