By Xy Aldrae Murillo

A Filipino student from Philippine Science High School-Central Luzon Campus (PSHS-CLC) won two awards at the International Model United Nations (IMUN) this year in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Photo Courtesy of International Model United Nations/CNN Philippines

John Anton Benedict G. Garcia, a grade 11 student, won the Best Delegate award and the Best Position Paper Award, besting around a hundred delegates from around the world.

IMUN is an annual event which gathers students worldwide, especially those interested in discovering more about how the United Nations function as an organization.

Moreover, delegates are also given an avenue to draft resolutions addressing global socioeconomic issues.

During the 3-day conference in Atma Jaya Catholic University, Garcia presented two position papers that discussed the situation of the Philippines: education amid pandemic and cultural preservation. 

He furthered that the topics of the position papers are set by the Model United Nations themselves, and the delegates have the freedom to choose the countries they will discuss and the angle they will take.

In his paper on quality education amidst the pandemic, Garcia argued that a lot of countries are still not ready to transition into digital learning and it is important to make sure that advancement is inclusive to other countries.

“Success is not measured by its top but instead, by its bottom, like the lacking sectors with no much privilege in terms of access to gadgets and devices to make education quality and accessible,” Garcia explained.

Meanwhile, Garcia in his cultural preservation paper, reckoned that cultural properties, like museums and artifacts, should stay within other relevant cultural domains, especially for Southeast Asia.

Asked about his edge among other delegates after receiving the Best Delegate Award, Garcia said it is about learning from past experiences and almost being empathetic.

“I was talking to people with vastly different backgrounds representing countries which might not even be entirely familiar as well. It was a lot about understanding, making sure that you're open, listening, and remembering why you're there and remembering the substance of the topics themselves,” Garcia continued.

Among his takeaways in the conference, Garcia shared that it is essential to make sure that arguments should be sensitive and in line with the views of other countries and cultures, as well as having the concept to understand, listen, and think quickly.

Edited by Juliana Mondoyo