ByIHo June Chun, International School of Ho Chi Minh City
In every conference room, delegates see one or two unfamiliar faces silently typing away on their laptops in the corner. They are the advisors from each school, assisting students in a number of ways. Nevertheless, despite their sincere contribution, they are rarely featured in the spotlight.
So what is the job of an advisor? It is mostly composed of preparation for the conference. Advisors coordinate delegates’ trip from head to toe:They organize flights, insurance, letters to parents, and virtually any part of MUN that requires a teacher’s assistance. They also provide basic training sessions for newcomers to MUN. During the conference, the major job of an advisor is to provide necessary information to students. For instance, an advisor of the ICJ, Elizabeth Wyant from International Bilingual School at Hsinchu, notes, “Although delegates in ICJ are very experienced and all have high potential to be future lawyers, they occasionally require information about laws, and I am in ICJ to quickly provide such information for them.” Other than providing information, advisors also assist in screening notes, checking grammar, and monitoring the debate to keep everything on track.
Directing such diverse areas, it is no surprise that they encounter some difficulties. Advisor William K. Schlei from International School of Ho Chi Minh City notes, “The advisors often find difficulties in remembering all the necessities to be checked before the conference since there are countless details. This can be seen by looking at the Security Council, where half of the members did not bring their note papers.” One of the other advisors, Kevin Huntley from Dulwich College Beijing, points out another difficulty, “For me, the hardest thing about preparation for the conference is to educate other teachers to value MUN. They often do not understand how it has such importance [so as to cause studens to] to miss five periods of their classes.”
Running around from committee to committee, advisors strive to provide assistance to the delegates in every way possible. So, smile at them. Each one of them helped make THIMUN Singapore 2011 a possibility.