The following recap was provided by Javeria Khalid Petiwala a student in the Lyceum School, Karachi Pakistan.
“The conference may die but the dream never will”-Taimoor Noorani
Rotaract Model United Nations was initially started by Mr. Nayel Noorani, in 2009 and is a four day conference that takes place where debaters are encouraged to exercise diplomacy, patience, the art of listening to the other delegates and give credible speeches. This year’s ROTMUN took place at The Carlton Hotel, Karachi from 18-21 October with around 1300 people taking part from the age range of 13-24.
Each day of debating was followed by a social event where delegates got together and relax after an exhausting day of debating. This is the biggest and the most popular Model United Nation conference in Karachi, Pakistan with the highest number of students from secondary and high schools participating along with many university graduates.
Unfortunately, ROTMUN 2012 was the final ROTMUN as the organizers, now want to venture deep into the debate journey and explore more opportunities. Respective teams cried and screamed with joy as they were declared either the ‘Best Delegation’ or runner ups in the closing ceremony comprising of more than 1300 people.
After the hustle of the closing ceremony, I got through the crowd. Mr. Nayel Noorani, the head and initiator of this conference was all smiles as he described the importance that Rotary Club held for him. “Honestly, I can’t tell you how much effort has been put in. We just know that it is a lot than we can measure; and for us, this is not just an event, it is us paying the price for all the learning that we got when we were your age. This is us thanking our seniors for that experience and passing it on to someone else,” says a smiling Nayel Noorani.
Mr. Noorani also adds in that “the MUN circuit in Pakistan in general has grown so large that us specifically doing this is no longer so necessary.” We can clearly see the MUN culture rapidly growing in Pakistan with many regional and national MUNs being organized but unfortunately ROTMUN 2012 was the last ROTMUN as now, the organizers want to venture deeper into training children to debate.
For many people in the conference, ROTMUN was about ‘interacting and connecting with people’ from different social and educational backgrounds, something they were not used to in their daily lives as their lives revolved meeting the usual people in school and going back to their schedules and thus, this platform gave an amazing opportunity for back benchers to shed their title away and emerge as a leader of their bloc.
Zubair Bashir, the debate head at The Lyceum School stresses repeatedly that “one is not born a debater but has to carve a debater out of himself”. He started an extensive debate journey through ROTMUN around three years back and although he lost his first ROTMUN, he says:” I lost only to improve as a debater”. This improvement translated into him winning Best Delegate awards in several national MUNs and an award in Harvard MUN 2012, Security Council.
Most of the debaters from The Lyceum School who won awards at Harvard MUN, Boston had first taken part in ROTMUN and proved their worth after winning in that conference. Lyceum bagged nine awards out of a total of sixteen people in Harvard MUN and was named ‘One of the ten best international delegations in the world.’ Hence, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that ROTMUN has given birth to excellent debaters who are winning prestigious international MUNs and not only advocating a positive image of Pakistanis all over the world but bringing pride to the nation as well.
Ameer Kazi learnt ‘how to fight back people who backstab you’ while Swaleha Khalid Petiwala, a student in Dow Medical College reminisces about how shy she was just two years ago and how the thought of speaking in front of a handful of people made her sweat and swoon. This same girl went on to win an award in Harvard MUN Boston 2012, setting an example for all those people who are too afraid to speak.
“ROTMUN was my first MUN and it gave me a newfound confidence and an urgent need to get my voice and opinions across. To new debaters, I would say; work hard. If you love debates, then nothing will come your way,” Swaleha encourages.
We congratulate Nayel and Taimoor Noorani and all those involved in making this platform such a debating success and for inspiring hundreds of people to stand up and speak confidently. We wish them best of luck with future Rotary Club projects and with high expectations, we can only eagerly anticipate for the best. Debating is an art. An art of speaking, of connecting and cooperating, of getting your voice across; something very few people can achieve.