A Weekend in Western Business Attire – A Report on CAHSMUN 2019


Derek Wu

The closing ceremonies of CAHSMUN 2019.

VANCOUVER—If one were to wander the streets of downtown Vancouver on a certain weekend of the year and notice flocks of youths in suits, ties, and formal attire, it would not be unlikely that a Model United Nations conference is occurring somewhere among one of the city’s towering hotels.

Over the weekend of April 12th to 14th, hundreds of high school students – among them more than 50 St. George’s students – converged upon the Sheraton Wall Centre hotel on Burrard Street, right in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. Well dressed but exceedingly loud and boisterous, students settled in for the 15th session of the Canadian High Schools Model United Nations, more commonly known as CAHSMUN, one of the largest Model United Nations conferences in Vancouver.

The hundreds of students filed into one of the hotel ballrooms for the beginning of the conference, Opening Ceremonies, featuring Shabana Basij-Rasikh, the founder of the first school for girls in Afghanistan. As the ceremony came to an end, everyone rushed out of the ballroom, ready for a weekend of intense debate and discussion.

As with years past, committees at the conference ranging from massive General Assembly committees, like the World Health Organization (WHO), to immersive historical simulations of the Senate of the Roman Republic. Delegates worked their hardest to best represent their delegation, whether it was the well-known nationalistic rhetoric of the United States, or the more obscure intricacies of Uruguayan foreign policy.

Through intense debate and a variety of topic and issues, any and all delegates received a chance to grow and build their public speaking and debate skills, while strengthening their knowledge and awareness of the challenges – in all spheres, from health to the environment – that the world around us faces. Even students in the historical Joint Crisis simulation of the Vietnam War were thrown right in the fiery, tense aura of the era and the complexities of war strategy.

As the conference came to a close, a bittersweet note descended upon the hotel. A weekend of meeting old friends and making new ones was ending with the Closing Ceremonies. Thankfully, the Closing Ceremonies also brightened the days of dozens of delegates, with a number of ecstatic students receiving awards for their hard work and contribution over the weekend.

“Delegates in ASEAN showed exemplary cooperation throughout the conference,” noted Ben Kang, a Grade 9 student at St. George’s who represented Brunei in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He also added some not-so-subtle criticism, commenting that “the [committee] staff was continually distracted and disengaged.”

As this year’s Model United Nations season in Greater Vancouver approaches its end, avid lovers of the fast-paced debate will look forward to next year, where they will achieve more opportunities to polish their speaking skills, or to take the next step as a member of the conference staff.