NUMUN 2012 – The Inside Story on NUST’s Model United Nations Conference

Imagine this, a group of tired university kids, cramped into a girls’ common room, papers piled high on a make-shift conference table, jumbled with print-out ID cards, white-board markers, and pens. They’re shuffling through lists, trying to Photoshop images into place, photocopying a DISEC working paper, Skyping with each other about heaters, frantically crying out for extension cords, and every now and then you hear someone ask about a Major sahib, an admin guy, etc. There’s a bunch of phone numbers scrawled on a white board, because there’s some people everyone needs to call.

There’s a girl begging Sarfraz bhai at the NBS Tuck Shop to send for some Telenor credit because otherwise, organization will literally come to a hault.

Now back up a bit – there’s weeks of kids running around Islamabad, from school to school putting up NUMUN posters. There’s a bunch of talented future pro-photographers video-editing, snap-snap-snapping away, and trying to lobby for a promotional flash mob. There’s kids mass-texting about NUMUN registrations, designing customized sweatshirts, mugs and T-shirts for the events, not to mention those running around teachers, administrative staff, and The Powers That Be for authorizations, approvals, ideas, budgets, negotiations.

Ferris wheel at the carnival. - via NUMUN Media Team

Now fast forward. Over 600 delegates. 10 committees. The first All-Pakistan NUMUN. We had Pak Army boys from the Pakistan Military Academy (they started victory-chanting when they won a Best Delegate award, right in the middle of the ceremony), experienced MUN-ers from City School, and all across the country. We had worked hard Tweeting, sharing, updating, posting, liking – everything you can do online – to promote the event, to spread the word, and it was gratifying to see that 122 teams registered.

The organizing committee in its entirety was massive. There were teams for everything you could think of: registrations, logistics, external relations, procurement, decor, security, media, social events, etc. There were rumors of a concert – Uzair Jaswal? Abdullah Qureshi? Was it true? There were silver paper plates painstakingly folded and stapled to make giant Christmas-ornament-like stars, spray-painted rubber balls, Committee Chairs arriving from across the country, and Dunkin Donuts too.

Decor Team hard at work. - via NUMUN Media Team

As a member of the host team, I got to see the madness behind the magic. A bunch of stressed-out kids, with help from supportive members of the NUST Business School administration, and a big idea all came together to put in 110%, to make NUMUN the best MUN of the year. I am proud to say that we pulled it off. Day 1 was the Global Village. Day 2: Carnivale! Day 3: Formal Dinner (I heard delegates saying it was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie) Day 4: Surprise Event: massive-scale scavenger hunt, with a Rs. 50,000 grand prize!

My favorite parts? The clowns at the carnival – six feet in the air, walking on stilts, stealing the hats off delegates’ heads, and chasing around the clown-phobic ones. The ferris wheel and the pirate ship ride, the awesome food at the Chilean stall at the Global Village, and the mad dash of a scavenger hunt at the end. This is something we’re not going to forget for a long, long time.

The ultimate cherry on the pie? Delegates saying this was one of the best MUNs they had attended, that it up-staged the LUMS Model United Nations in many ways, that they would come back next year, that they had the time of their lives. That’s what everyone was aiming for, and that’s what made us smile, despite the aching legs, tired eyes, and exhausted minds.

NOTE: I did not take these photos. All photos were provided by the NUMUN Media Team.