Model UN in south India has grown considerably in the past few years, and is expanding at an even greater rate. The 3 main circuits that have emerged in South India in the high school level are located in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. In the college level, the circuits are not as distinct, and will be discussed in detail later. All conferences in South India are scheduled in accordance with the Indian academic calendar, and conferences happen year round with the exception of April and May. This article is meant to be a guide for delegates new to Model UN in South India.
Schools in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad usually attend conferences in their respective cities, but occasionally travel to other cities in the south and outside the south Indian circuit to attend conferences. Some schools also attend conference abroad. There is no specific championship conference between schools in the south Indian circuit, but the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) India is a very prestigious conference to win a delegation award at. This article will look more into city-specific circuits for high schools rather than the south Indian circuit as a whole, as there are observable differences and similarities between the different circuits.
- Bangalore (a.k.a. Awards Ville)
The Bangalore high school circuit has grown exponentially over the past few years, and more conferences continue to emerge. The city’s oldest conference, the Bangalore Model United Nations (BMUN), is hosted annually by the Vidya Niketan School, and is the city’s championship conference. Other high-school conferences that have come up include Christ Junior College’s CJCMUN, Sophia’s High School’s SMUN, The International School Bangalore’s TISBMUN, Cathedral High School’s CHSMUN, Sishu Griha School’s SGMUN (only for grades 8 to 10) and Bishop Cotton Boys School’s CoMUN.
In all the conferences I have attended, the most number of awards were disbursed in Bangalore circuit conferences. Awards also have different names for different levels, and this is summarized in the table below.
|Bangalore Circuit Award||International Circuit Award|
|Commendable Delegate||Honorable Mention|
|Honorable Delegate||Outstanding Delegate|
|Best Delegate||Best Delegate|
Awards in this structure are not only given out for individual committee awards, but also for position papers and delegation awards. For example, for position paper awards per committee, there exists a best position paper, one or two honorable position papers and one or two commendable position papers. The same goes for delegation awards. Moreover, delegation awards are based on country representation rather than school representation. For example, if a school sends a delegation with 2 country assignments such as Russia and Togo, and the Russian delegates perform well, the Russian delegation from the school will be recognized rather than the Togo delegation from the same school. There is also a Best Country Profile award at certain conferences, which is basically a detailed report on a country prepared by its delegation. Delegations are eligible for both a Delegation and Country Profile award. Some conferences also offer a Best Crisis Manager award for the delegate who effectively deals with the crisis situation brought out. Usually, a delegate is not eligible for multiple individual awards, but happens occasionally.
One of the most prominent features of the Bangalore high school circuit is that it is known for simulating a press conference. It is when a spokesperson of the press enters the committee and begins to question delegates on their stance on the topic at hand, basic facts about their nation, etc. The spokesperson can be very intimidating, especially to first-time delegates. Not all conferences in the city simulate it, but most do. Conferences in Bangalore are usually run by students or alumni from the host school, and rarely allow an external executive board.
The main conferences in the city include Chettinad Vidyashram’s CVMUN, Sankara’s SANMUN, Sishya’s SISHMUN, the American International School, Chennai’s CHEMUN (a THIMUN-affiliated conference, and Padma Seshedri’s PSBBMUN. Most of these conferences have been well-established for over 4 years. CHEMUN, in particular, is known to attract many international delegates from countries as far as Italy, Israel and even Palestine! The city’s championship conference is SISHMUN, and is highly competitive. This article will focus mainly on the features of conferences other than CHEMUN as CHEMUN runs by the THIMUN procedure and is the odd one out when it comes to features.
The Chennai circuit has a completely different structure than the other two South Indian circuits. Firstly, each committee has 2 Best Delegates, 1-3 Verbal Commendations and 3 Nominations. It also has 1-2 Best Position Paper awards. A delegate is never eligible for multiple individual awards. For delegations, there is usually 1 Best Delegation and 1 Verbal Commendation. This functions in the same way as the Bangalore circuit where country delegations are awarded. At some conferences, the whole school delegation is recognized for its performance with the Best School award. Some conferences have the award for Best Country Profile like in the Bangalore circuit.
A high school delegate from outside the city can be easily perplexed by the features of Chennai conferences. One feature that completely bewildered me while I chaired at a Chennai circuit conference was that delegates were allowed to raise moderated caucuses on topics irrelevant to the issue at hand but relevant to the committee. For example, in a DISEC discussing nuclear terrorism, delegates are allowed to discuss small arms. This is done to refresh the committee from monotonous debate and bring up interesting topics of debate. These either fail unanimously (when the topic is barely known) or extremely lively (usually controversial topics). Raising good moderated caucus topics is the key to winning the Best Delegate award, even if they are irrelevant.
Conferences are also quite formal, and there is a great emphasis on avoiding eye contact, gesticulation and personal pronouns. Almost all chairs insist upon beginning every speech with ‘With the prior permission of the executive board’. Accusing countries of terrorist activities, referring to them as third-world countries or belittling nations leads to instant suspension rather than warnings.
All Chennai conferences have an emergency situation, and all the committees deal with the same emergency even if the committee is discussing something completely unrelated to the emergency. For example, a committee discussing soil erosion may need to resolve an emergency situation pertaining to terrorism. The most common emergencies include the kidnapping of a world leader or a terrorist threat. The emergency is simulated on the second day after there is enough time to observe potential best delegates. These nations are the ones involved in the crisis in the end, and the awards are decided through the emergency. For example if the Chinese and American delegates are most vocal in most committees, then the emergency situation may revolve around the kidnapping of Barack Obama by a Chinese terrorist organization. This enables a direct confrontation between delegates.
Most Chennai conferences have an executive board comprised of students from the host school, but occasionally designate 1 or 2 committees for external chairs. CHEMUN, however, has positions for multiple external executive board members.
Hyderabad is an upcoming circuit and has undergone massive expansion in the past couple of years. With the MUN Café (the co-organizers of Harvard MUN India) located in Hyderabad, many schools have begun their Model UN clubs with the assistance of the MUN Café. The MUN Café also hosts occasional week-end conferences and training sessions to popularize the activity in the city. Moreover, the relocation of Harvard MUN India from Mumbai to Hyderabad has been instrumental in the growing interest in Model UN in the city.
The main conferences in the city include Hyderabad Public School’s HPSMUN (oldest in the city), Oakridge International School’s OakMUN (largest high school run conference in the city), Chirec Public School’s Chirec MUN, and the Harvard MUN India. More schools such as Delhi Public School and Indus World School intend to start up their own conferences soon. Harvard MUN India is the city’s most prestigious conference, but the local championship conference is OakMUN.
The awards structure in Hyderabad conferences usually follows the international system with 1 Best Delegate, 1 or 2 Outstanding Delegates, and 1-3 Honorable Mentions. There are also 1-2 position paper awards, and Best and Outstanding Delegation awards given to schools rather than country delegations.
Unlike most Bangalore and Chennai circuit conferences, Hyderabad conferences have Social Nights or Delegate Dances for the delegates and staff. Conferences usually allow external executive board members, but have some positions reserved for students from the host school. Apart from these, there are no features unique to the Hyderabad circuit.
Similarities between Circuits
Like most Indian conferences, conference in all 3 cities get extremely heated with well-researched delegates bringing out multiple accusations, foreign policy violations and points of orders (pointing out factual errors). Delegates try to assert their dominance in committee this way, and try to put other delegates in a difficult situation. As a result, the learning curve for first-time delegates is quite steep, and delegates refrain from speaking in committee fearing being put in a difficult situation by other delegates. Delegates in each of the cities usually know each other as they compete against each other multiple times, and delegates from all 3 cities compete with each other at Harvard MUN India.
During debate on a resolution, there is usually a standoff between the possible Best Delegates as they create their own bloc, and aggressively try to prevent the passing of other resolutions. The resolutions have 1-5 sponsors or main submitters, but 1 main submitter tends to stand out. In some conferences, it is not uncommon for 1 delegate to have contributed above 90% of the clauses on a draft resolution. Debate on a resolution is quite intricate in the Security Council with the high possibility of a veto, and reaching a consensus tends to be difficult to reach unless multiple amendments being brought out.
The college circuit conferences in different cities in South India do not usually have observable differences, and are attended by delegates from around the South and sometimes the North. Delegates and executive board members know each other, and run into each other in multiple conferences during the course of the year.
The Hyderabad college circuit has seen tremendous growth in the past couple of years, and is expanding at an exponential rate. From 4 conferences last year (CBITMUN, CBIT-ICC, BITSMUN, and Sense MUN), the number of conferences this year are expected to double with new entrants including The MUN, Excelsior the MUN, India Summit, and the Indian International MUN – Hyderabad Chapter. CBITMUN is the city’s oldest intercollegiate conference, and attracts many international delegates every year. Conferences such as The MUN and India Summit are privately organized by college students from different institutions.
In Chennai, the most well-established conference is SRMMUN, which has seen successful sessions for the past couple of years. Other conferences in the city include WCCMUN, HYLC, SMCMUN, MOPMUN, and ETHIMUN. However, some of these conferences have not had consistent annual sessions.
In Bangalore, the oldest conference is the NLSMUN, and Christ University recently launched the SLCUMUN this year. TGIM BCMUN, a privately organized conference, made its debut in 2011, but has not featured any subsequent editions.
Other conferences located outside the metros in the South that are attended by the delegates located from around the country include Summit Manipal, YLGC, VITMUN, and VITTUC
There is no championship conference as delegates go against each other individually instead of representing their respective institutions, but there are committees (mostly the Security Council) in certain conferences which feature the best delegates in the circuit going against each other.
Awards have different names for different levels, and this is summarized in the table below.
|College Circuit Award||International Circuit Award|
|Special Mention||Honorable Mention|
|High Commendation||Outstanding Delegate|
|Best Delegate||Best Delegate|
There is usually 1 Best Delegate (rarely 2 and once there was none!), 1-2 High Commendations, and 1-3 Special Mentions. In addition, there are occasional Verbal Mentions as well. The Best Delegate and High Commendation awards usually carry prize money (amount varies from conference to conference), which is one of the main incentives to participate in Model UN. It is extremely rare for colleges in India to fund trips to conferences for their students, and is a reason why the concept of prize money developed. There are rarely any position paper awards, and only a few conferences require position papers. There is no delegation award in any conference, with the exception of CBITMUN, as delegates attend conferences individually rather than through their institution.
The South Indian college circuit is similar to the North Indian college circuit, and tends to feature intensive debate with well-researched delegates bringing out multiple accusations, foreign policy violations and points of orders (pointing out factual errors). Delegates try to assert their dominance in committee this way, and try to put other delegates in a difficult situation. In earlier years, there was more of an emphasis on pure debate and less on resolution drafting, but this has changed and conferences often see resolutions with comprehensive and well-developed solutions.
The college circuit has also evolved from previous years in terms of the committees featured. Earlier on, only United Nations committees and specialized agencies were featured, but this has diversified to historic and futuristic committees, committees such as the International Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, ad-hoc crisis committees, and the FIFA. Conferences occasionally feature technical councils to discuss economics, technology advances, and even physics! Recently, Summit Manipal had a simulation of the CERN.
Most college conferences feature Social Nights and Delegate Dances, but many of these tend to be unofficial due to the reservations of the host institutions.