Dr. John Tharakan, Founder & CEO, Be-Ivy Education

An alumnus of Harvard University & Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Tharakan is a seasoned academician with experience ranging across the corporate, government, United Nations and Non-profit sectors. Over the years, he has spent a considerable amount of time volunteering to help parents and students with activities related to admissions to universities worldwide. From tasks that include taking prospective students and their families on campus tours, to helping sort out CV’s of eligible students, and interviewing selected students; all of these roles gave him an insight into some of the key aspects that ‘selected’ the students who finally made it into some of the world best universities. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Be-Ivy Education, an organization that counsels, guides, coaches, trains and mentors, students and their parents to develop success habits and become high-performance individuals. Be-Ivy works hand in hand to ensure that students develop the necessary values to identify and enrol at the best universities abroad that best fits the student.

There’s a new cool kid on the block these days in schools the world over – MUN-ers!

Model United Nations participants or MUN-ers as they’re called in student lingo are leading the rush as the concept of Model United Nations (MUN) has become one of the most sought after extracurricular activities for school students globally. Based broadly on the structure and format of how the United Nations works, with a host of committees, agendas, and charters each MUN has its own unique twist to it. The implied association with the UN gives it higher brand value and credibility than many other activities in student life further adding to its attraction.

MUN has a history of attracting students with a natural curiosity for global issues and an analytical mind to think on their feet while coming up with creative solutions. The time-tested entertainment associated with debating skills, communication, and leadership strategy also comes into play making it an intellectual and engrossing event. It is not surprising then that many of today’s leaders in law, government, business, and the arts – including at the UN itself – have many stories to share on the Model UN’s they have participated in as students.

But what about the MUN makes it so special that admissions officers globally keep a special eye out for students who regularly do well in the MUN? How else does MUN help students with not just their university applications but in making the most of their university experience?

Understanding the process which students go through when they prepare for and participate in the MUN gives us some interesting insights.

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Practical application
  • Problem-solving
  • Diplomacy
  • International

1) In-depth Knowledge of Current Global Affairs:

Students have proven to show a tremendous understanding and knowledge of the world and current global affairs after their participation in various MUN’s. The simulation of representing a country at a ‘global’ level requires them to know their topics thoroughly since they can be questioned on any aspect of the topic they are talking about. Understanding the previous resolutions in the UN including the most recent ones and its implications on different countries gives them practical knowledge of worldly affairs that is difficult to get at any other student forum.

 2) Research Expertise:

All good MUN-ers are unanimous regarding the importance of good research to win a MUN. The current education systems in most countries especially at the school level do not give much importance to research. In the few that do, research is often looked upon as a boring, mundane activity reserved for the overly studious. Having to represent a country and talk about current global topics involves having to do detailed research from different data sources. The fact that the research has to be done around areas of interest makes it’s a more interesting experience and giving the right evidence-based answer when questioned just adds to the thrill at MUN.

3) Analysis Skills:

Participating in a MUN involves dealing with a lot of information from various sources in short spans of time. This data has to be analyzed accurately and quick decisions have to be made keeping in mind possible repercussions. Having an opportunity to do this type of analysis gives MUN-ers a distinct advantage in the real world scenario as well.

 4) Self-Confidence Boost:

During a Model UN, students are placed in environments where they are required to interact with unfamiliar faces, work in teams to develop solutions to assigned tasks and to express views in a self-assured manner, and convince people to support their agenda. From the preparation to the discussions, debates, and resolutions passed during the conference, the full experience gives students a huge boost in confidence which is carried on to other areas of their lives.

 5) Public Speaking:

Model UN provides students with one of the best platforms to explore and develop their public speaking skills. Public speaking plays an extremely important role during MUN’s considering students are required to express their thoughts, ideas, and views in front of an audience for varying periods of time. Throughout the course of the conference, students are given several opportunities to use express their views, use their persuasion skills, and ultimately hone their public speaking prowess.

6) Diplomacy and Problem Solving:

In today’s rapidly evolving world, one of the two skills that are at a premium is problem-solving and getting along with people. At a MUN, students who are strangers representing various countries with different agendas have to sit together and come up with a solution to complex problems. This involves extensive discussion, give and take, negotiation skills, and diplomacy. In no other activity at the school level do students get a chance to learn and use such skills in a ‘real-world’ setting.

 7) Writing Skills:

Drafting of resolutions at a MUN is a science and art in itself. This is also a key skill student require to get into the best colleges globally. At a Model UN conference, students are required to write in various contexts – for speeches, research papers, resolutions, etc. This requires a different level of discipline and creativity, all very important skills for their college and professional lives.

 8) International Exposure:

While the entire MUN model is internationally based, some of the top MUN’s conducted in India are truly global in nature. Some of the top MUN’s like the Harvard MUN and the Be-Ivy MUN is truly unique. In addition to students of different nationalities based in India, students and schools based out of different countries actually take part. This gives the MUN experience a totally different international quality and brings to play higher levels of skills. Students have to cut across different time zones, cultures, traditions, and mindsets and come up with mutually agreeable diplomatic solutions. All these skills make a great difference to their success in the future.

MUN has proved to be a fun and powerful educational tool for students, molding them to become the best version of themselves. As an organization that strives to bring out the best in our students and train them to be the best they can be, we at Be-Ivy Education will be organizing our virtual Model United Nations competition titled ‘Be-Ivy MUN 2020’, to be held on October 31st and November 1st, 2020. The sole purpose of Be-Ivy MUN is to engage students and allow them to develop a deeper understanding of current world issues but of themselves. The Be-Ivy MUN is indeed the place ‘where future leaders MUN!’

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