Let’s take a look back at IMMUNS 2019…

Meet the Secretariat

Opening Video

Recap

Welcome from our Advisor, Marissa Aguilar:

WELCOME.

What a pleasure to see all of you again! I keep telling my students that LIFE IS ABOUT CHOICES, and today I see that you made a choice by coming here. You chose to do your regular school work plus MUN. You chose to view world news with open minds and understand issues such as why Brazil has a president from the far extreme right; why Venezuela has two presidents-one official and one self – proclaimed. Why the US government shut down for quite a long time, why populism is spreading in Europe and America? And so many other interesting issues!

You chose to “feel” the world with a caring heart when you are interested in knowing more about a humanitarian crisis like the one in Yemen, or show empathy towards the migrants. And of course, you are here to develop skills and become stronger leaders. I invite you to stand by your choice and show your passion the next three days and when you go home, apply, extend, transfer and then we will know that IMMUNS continues to succeed every year.

Make it happen.
Marissa Aguilar

Commencement Message from our Secretary General, Claudia Elizondo:

Hello, delegates. Thank you all for being here and believing in IMMUNS and in Secretariat. It is our great privilege to have you all here with us today ready to find diplomatic solutions to the pressing issues that the international community faces today. For the past few months, Secretariat has been working hard to bring you the IMMUNS Experience, and it has been my great pleasure and honor to work alongside such incredible, diligent people to bring this event to life once again. On behalf of all of us, I hope that IMMUNS becomes a stepping stone in your path to growing into a true world leader and global citizen. Let’s make it happen, delegates!

Our Guest Speakers’ Things to Remember:

Ian Tyson
1. Your Attitude is an Investment!
  • If time is something that can be saved, spent, or wasted, then it is also something that can be invested. Spending your time is a chore, and can be seen as more of a waste and can be negative. You invest your time with the attitude you choose to bring to every situation. Like with a financial investment, there is risk involved and you have to give something up, but you can get something better back!
2. Pull Out The Gym Mats!
  • As you walk through your day, at your school, at work, at home and in your community, you have the opportunity to pull out the gym mats… to make the people you encounter feel safe, feel protected, and feel like they can do anything. You do that be being a caring, empathetic and present person, giving of yourself and making connections whenever possible.
3. Be Mindful What you Carry in our Backpack
  • Our memories, the things that define us, are something we carry with us every day, so we have to choose carefully what it is we carry. They are a backpack in our minds that we carry our entire lives. The negative things can weigh us down, but the positive things will make us stronger and better able to handle any adversity.
4. 2000 Choices a Day… What Will Yours Be?
  • Every day, you have around 2000 choices you make… what socks to wear, which one to put on first, what to eat, what to say, how to act – they all break down into hundreds of small choices that build your day. The problem is, some of those choices are made the same way, so often, that they have become a habit. Some of those habits can be negative and have an adverse effect on our days and our lives. Think carefully about the choices you make and which ones have become habits that perhaps you can change.
5. Get In The Game!!
  • All too often we think that life is going to come to us, or that success and happiness will be left on our doorstep like a gift. It won’t. Like a child waiting by the net in a soccer match thinking the game is going to come to them, we are offside and will never succeed that way. We need to get it the game! It won’t be easy, and we will get knocked down, but we get to choose how to respond to that and get back up! Pain is Inevitable, Misery is a Choice!!
Scott Hammell
1. Know your why
  • If you don’t know why you’re doing whatever it is that you’re doing, chances are that when things start to go wrong with the plan, you’ll give up. Knowing your why will help shed light on all of the important areas of your project. It will reinforce the need to keep going. People will often start into a project without understanding their why. In those instances, when problems start to arise it’s easy to give up because there is no weight to the project or consequences to stopping. Knowing and understanding your ‘why’ will help push you past the finish line.

2. You’re not too young.

  • Lots of ambitious young leaders are told that they are too young to be dreaming so big. I don’t know if the problem is that the people who are telling them this nonsense are embarrassed that they weren’t able to accomplish something so big when they were younger. Maybe it’s that they still can’t accomplish a goal so ambitious. It could be that they just don’t understand because the times are so different from when they were younger. You’re not too young. You’re not too young to dream, to love, to go after your dreams, to create. It may be too young for them, but that’s why they didn’t do it. Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate!

3. Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a part of it

  • These days, it’s easy to get caught up in social media. We scroll through and see people’s carefully curated lives online highlighting special moments and all of their success. When people neglect to post their failures, it’s hard to think that they ever fail. It can seem like it’s all just so effortless for them. It’s like we are embarrassed to post about or talk about our failures. ‘If nobody posts or talks about their failures, they probably never fail, and so I must be the only person failing.’ We need not be embarrassed by our failures. Instead, we need to learn from them, use them as motivation, understand what happened and why and make things better the next time. If you aren’t failing, chances are you’re not setting ambitious enough goals.

4. There are magic moments happening right in front of us when we fail

  • When failure does happen, keep looking at the big picture. It’s important that we learn from our failure but it’s also important that we don’t spend SO much time thinking about the mistake that we miss the magic moments that are happening right in front of us. There can be powerful lessons in those mistakes that are happening just outside of our focus. If our focus is too sharp on the failure, we’ll pass by those magic moments happening just outside of that focus.

5. Break it down

  • Houdini discovered that the real secret of the straitjacket escape was simply to break it down into small bits. When the doctors who sold him his jacket told him that it was impossible to escape from, it was based on their experiences watching patients get SO overwhelmed by the whole process of getting out, that they would give up before they started to try to escape. By breaking it down into a bunch of manageable steps, Houdini unlocked the secret to freedom. When we dream big, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. We must simply remember that it’s just a matter of breaking things down into smaller steps. If the particular step we’re working on seems impossible, we can break that down further. It’s also o.k to ask for help! We don’t have to be superheroes all of the time.

Closing Ceremony – A farewell from our Secretary General, Claudia Elizondo:

Delegates, thank you all for being here. It has been my great pleasure to have seen you these past few days, working so hard to solve today’s issues. You all came up with great solutions for the large variety of topics you debated. However, I am sure we can all agree that coming up with these solutions was not easy. There were disagreements and many other obstacles that made the process frustrating at times, but made the end result much more valuable.

There is a song that I love, If We Have Each Other by Alec Benjamin, that says, “The world’s not perfect, but it’s not that bad, if we have each other.” I find this lyric expresses two of the most fundamental parts of life, the human connection and the ability to grow and improve. Both parts are present here in IMMUNS. You all created connections within your committees, and all learned something in your three days here. Chairs also created connections with each other, and advisors got to enjoy each other’s company once more.

I do not believe, however, that the world should be perfect. If the world was perfect, we would not be here at IMMUNS. If the world was perfect, we would not see the triumph of compassion and kindness. If the world was perfect, we would seldom witness the endurance of the human spirit. I want to thank you all for getting us a little closer to perfection. I want to thank Secretariat for letting me lead you and being so wonderful and hardworking I have learned so much from you this year. I want to thank especially the seniors in the class, who in the past four years have been on this journey with me. I want to thank Ms. Eva Lamadrid, Mr. David Scott, Dr. Michael Adams, Mr. Sheldon Guenther, Ms. Salinas, and Ms. Escamilla. Last, but not least, I want to thank Ms. Aguilar, our wonderful advisor, for always being there for us and loving us like you do. We know we are not perfect, so thank you for all you have done and continue to do every single day for us. Thank you all once again delegates, and now without further ado, I declare IMMUNS 2019 officially closed.

 

We hope to see you next year at IMMUNS 2020!

IMMUNS 2020 Secretary General Candidate Speeches

Francisco Santos

     Truthfully, and irrefutably, I’ve dreamt of running for Secretary General for a very long time. I’d never really given any thought, however, as to what it was I wanted to say–here, now, in front of all of you. The very first thing that comes to mind–and I disclose this at the risk of sounding terribly cliché–is a picture in my head of this very scrawny–looking, curly–haired little fifteen year old sitting between two of his very best friends on what used to be a non-robotically enhanced table three years ago. And in that picture, he is utterly and completely traumatized after turning in a paper with the wrong headings to Ms. Aguilar. If I could, through some unfathomable stroke of magic, go back and talk to that anxious little director of the ninth grade Clean Up Campaign, I’d say: “Fran, you are in for one hell of a ride.”

     And what a ride it has been. Throughout the turbulent, exhilarating course of my MUN high school career, I can wholeheartedly say there has seldom been a dull moment. But what is it, exactly, that one finds at the core of this program’s beating heart? I found myself riddled with this question for a very long time. I theorized for days, but–as is usually the case with questions of this nature–the answer made its way to me. While confined in Birmingham city jail, Martin Luther King Jr. justified his practice of peaceful protest to a group of Alabama clergymen with an iconic letter. At one point, he states: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” I believe that–beyond all those sleepless nights, all those times we were at each others’ throats because of badges that weren’t printed or presentations kept blank or bills left unpaid, beyond even the ineffectiveness of the very real organization we represent, this belief is a testament to the durability and value of MUN at ASFM. Because it’s true–it would be very easy for us to live a life of blissful ignorance, caught somewhere between the latest chisme and whatever matcha drink is currently in fashion. But it is a far braver and nobler deed to choose to acknowledge the sameness that binds human beings–to understand that the burdens we carry, the dreams we hold and the issues we face are universal. To know we are not alone is a beautiful thing, but to take this understanding and do something about it, to make the tragedies half the world away our own is what makes us human. We forget, at times, caught up in the academic hassle of the year, that this is what we hold true. It is what we practice. It is who we are. Quite literally, we make the world our business.

     When I bring myself to think of this year’s simulation, I’m always struck by the same awakening: our generation has some very big shoes to fill. If I had the privilege of representing next year’s Secretariat class, I would take it upon myself to preserve all facets of operational innovation that made IMMUNS 2019 such a stunning triumph: from the deliberate addition of community service that brought us closer to the essence of Model United Nations, to Public Relations’ absolutely stellar use of social media, to a truly unparalleled page master. IMMUNS is only as good as the sum of its parts, and I believe–with absolute certainty–that every single one of us gave it our all; however, there is always room for growth and evolution. Created two years back, the IMMUNS Workshops offer Secretariat students the opportunity to engage delegates with boundless and unfiltered academic presentations–from politics, to science, to modern psychology. However, in my experience, I’ve noticed that–as organizers–we are often too preoccupied with the actual event and our respective role in it to create a truly inspiring demonstration. For this reason, I propose Open Workshops with a process similar to that of TedX–anyone from teachers, to MUNers from other generations, to students in AP Seminar or Research can create a presentation with an enhanced focus and drive. Ever since I was in the 6th grade, I’ve felt that–although Model United Nations is a fantastic way of honing skills of debate, there’s a certain element of humanity that is lost when one attempts to solely represent the beliefs of a nation. Although this is a necessary sacrifice when it comes to the world of politics, I’m always a little saddened by the fact that IMMUNS hosts around 500 brilliant minds, but we never really get to listen to their beliefs as individuals. I believe it is time that we give delegates the opportunity to communicate beyond the unified perspective of a population. In this day and age, politics could use a little more humanity. For this reason, I propose the implementation of personal debates held during workshop time. For a selected hour, delegates would have the opportunity to advocate for their individual convictions on unrestrained critical questions–from animal testing, to the death penalty, to the origin of the universe. If travelling to MUN simulations across the world with you all has taught me anything about international work ethic, it is that–unlike the MUN students we know and love–most delegates don’t begin their simulation preparation on the way back to Monterrey from Budapest or Portugal. My time in the HURAC department has highlighted the amount of work put into the creation of background papers, and honestly–I think they’re worth two full days of debate. In order to honor the effort delegates put into their respective committee’s original topic, I believe we should grant them the option of debating it for the entire course of IMMUNS. The implementation of two to three handpicked crisis-free committees would be the perfect way to honor delegates’ preparation. In addition to these major changes to the simulation itself, I would also like to change things up a little when it comes to the Secretariat class. In order to improve the program’s already excellent fundraising abilities, I would like to propose the option of opening up IMMUNS sponsorship possibilities to the entire MUN program, as opposed to only Secretariat. This way, we would be able to more wholly encapsulate sponsorship potential, and allow other generations to contribute to the event’s creation. I mentioned before that IMMUNS is only as good as the sum of its parts, but I believe this value is virtually useless if these parts can’t work together. The final tweak I would like to make is to give you all more of what makes MUN so great: its people. If I had the honor of representing you as Secretary General, I would love to host and organize more bonding experiences within Secretariat–as well as between generations. In addition to organizing more frequent get-togethers on weekends and making sure the Chair Olympics competition is put into effect during Chair Training, I would love to try out less traditional fundraising activities outside of the school, like car washes, cook-offs, or charitable house parties.

     These past few months have been overwhelming in the most fantastic of ways, to say the least. The peculiar nature of politics and high school word-of-mouth is not something I’m terribly used to, and I have to admit that–at times, it led me to question the very reason I’m standing here today. But I don’t think I’ve ever been one to shy away from troubling questions. By and large, I think it all goes back to something I heard Ms. Aguilar jokingly say for the first time last year as a Bach I student, but didn’t quite grasp until I heard it again close to the beginning of this semester: “Algo les pasa en Grade 11.” Although this was, of course, intended as a lighthearted reprimand for a late current event or Isa smuggling food into the classroom, it rang pretty true in my head. Because she’s absolutely right–the illusion of eternity at ASFM has faded. When I look in the mirror, I find flowers have grown out of the cracks of that crumbling 9th grade youth. I still have a lot of growing up to do, but I refuse to ignore all the growing up I’ve already done. And there’s not a hint of doubt in my mind that an extraordinary portion of that growth is a because of this class. Because of all of you. Beyond all else, I am standing here today out of utter and genuine gratitude. Thank you, MUN, for granting me the privilege of sharing this strange gift of existence with the best people I have ever met. Thank you for showing that anxious little director of the 9th grade Clean Up Campaign that he has all the tools he’ll ever need to make peace with even the darkest parts of himself–the ones he swears will never see the light of day. But they will, and they have, and I am forever in your debt. It would be my honor to pay you back.

Thank you.

 

Elena Llaguno

    My story in the MUN program begins similar to yours. Five years ago, I remember sitting quietly in the corner of a high school classroom helping pass notes back and forth, while watching the way high schoolers with badges around their necks wearing suits and formal pants firmly argued about current global issues. Interested at what was being discussed but most importantly, impressed with the ability their voice with not a single doubt. A skill, a timid young girl was not even close to mastering but was curious enough to try.

    The years that came after that, I participated in the local MUN simulations only to receive a participation award. I would convince myself every session that during the next one I would do my best to raise my placard and contribute to the debate, however, this plan was easier said than done.  

    Years later, I was admitted to a class that marked the beginning of a journey, MUN 9. At first, the outspoken individuals in the class made me feel out of place. However, the Queretaro trip and all the eureka moments, the get-togethers at Daniel and Maria’s house, and the study session at Nadia’s were all moments that slowly transformed period 2 in A201 into a second home.

    Then came MUN 10, once I had finally built the courage to raise my hand, speak out,  and try my best to run for a leadership position, I was again placed in a new, unknown, and nerve-racking environment, the Secretariat class, and to top that off I was placed in a department I did not know much about with only one person by my side who was also new to the job. Together we would constantly mess up, ask questions, and mess up again. That is why I propose the implementation of Secretariat Mentors. Which consists of a member of the Secretariat class being paired with one or two members of the MUN program belonging to or aspiring to be in the same department in the years to come. Encouraging each individual to learn about the role of a particular department during IMMUNS. Aside from promoting bonding between the generations, the insight gained of a particular department through a Secretariat mentor will give any of the 11th-grade students that are not in Secretariat to have a decent chance of running for a USG position. Secretariat mentors could also assist in event planning or even just editing position papers for another MUNER.

    Nonetheless, there is only so much a fellow Secretariat member can do. To even further facilitate a department’s understanding of their job, the usage of department handbooks is crucial, which is currently being worked by Roby and the rest of this year’s IT department. The department handbook should provide instructions for the simplest of tasks, and job descriptions for each Secretariat member, in order for every department to rely on the handbook in case of any doubt. But aside from having department handbooks, we should have a MUN Contact book, that contains each past Secretariat members contact as well as school staff’s contact, past suppliers from a different department, and even sponsors and donor contacts. By having these, the secretariat could easily have something to fall back on in case of any doubt. With such a tool, lots of holdbacks that we experienced this year could be easily avoided.

    It is no secret that this year’s finance department struggled in paying back all debts. Although we supposedly have a certain spending limit for each department, each year IMMUNS gets more and more expensive, therefore it is absolutely necessary to have a formal and strict budget. The budget will consist of allowing each department to have a certain percentage of the amount of money that is already in the IMMUNS account and every department will have to subdivide their own budget. For instance, LORE could have 25% of the whole IMMUNS money, and 60% of their department budget will be strictly for food during the event. Aside from avoiding unnecessary and excessive spending, this will also help in making sure Secretariat leaves money to buy any necessities for future years.

    Moving on, there are moments throughout the year in which a certain department has a larger agenda than others, and could use an extra hand. Therefore through a weekly survey, each member of Secretariat will answer the tasks they have done throughout the week, and the tasks they will complete during the following week. With this information, we can make sure Secretariat members that are less occupied than others, could provide assistance to departments in need.

    Obviously, all the things I have mentioned have the same purpose: making IMMUNS the best it can be. However, to do this we must remember what MUN truly represents: advocating for change. We are constantly debating about change and all of the resolution papers that would allow such transformation to occur. This year with the community service projects offered during IMMUNS we got a step closer to the actual hands-on effort it takes to make a small impact, but there is still room to further explore this. Therefore, as a Secretariat class, we should establish contact with UNICEF or another organization and their work with local schools here in Monterrey. Throughout the semester, we should organize a few activities with this institution and later fundraise for this cause during IMMUNS. After all, we should be setting an example for those that come next.

    It was five years ago, I sat on that dark blue chair on the corner of that high school classroom in silence. Never could I have imagined that I would turn into one of those high schoolers that I observed in awe. Never could I had imagined that today, I would be standing here, in front of all of you. That it would only take time, friendships, experiences, and practice to find my voice. I may not be the most outspoken or the most talkative, like you all may know. and I am sure that six months ago, no one ever imagined I would be campaigning to be your next secretary-general. But I am passionate about this class, our mission, and every individual in Secretariat. And if there is one thing I have learned throughout these years, is that passion breaks the barrier between the need to participate and the actual love of doing so.

Thank you.

 

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Registration

Dear Delegates;

We cordially invite you to this year's International Monterrey Model United Nations Simulation (IMMUNS 2020). This experience allows students to debate current world issues by representing different countries around the world. Delegates will get a first-hand experience of the United Nations’ procedures and the development of resolutions for global problems. 

The simulation is organized by the MUN/Secretariat class of the American School Foundation of Monterrey and will take place on February 13 - 15, 2020, at our school in Monterrey, Mexico. Currently, the official registration site is being updated; however, if you are interested in attending the simulation, please fill out the following survey: https://immuns.typeform.com/to/BgntMJ. If interested, please contact the hospitality department at hospitality@immuns.org to receive more information regarding the simulation.

Best regards,

The Secretariat

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