We are back with FlippED! And this time our two Bloggers are fighting about the clash between MUNs and Parliamentary Debating (Hah! Clash, get it?) has been going on ever since these two formats gained prominence. Both these formats train their participants in quite a few skills.
But the question is, which is the better one?
“I would like to put forward the motion to declare that MUNs are the shiznit”.
~ Tanmay Mehra
If anybody has seen a ‘candid’ picture of their friend in a suit on Facebook, chances are the picture was taken at an MUN.
A lot of people like my fellow blogger espouse the culture of debating or a parlimentary debating (PD) more for reasons that shall follow later.
But as for me, I consider MUNs as debating++. All the components of debating added on to other activities that promote specific skill development.
Let me explain why.
When you go for a PD, you go with the knowledge that you already have, you are given a topic and there have to be four 7 minute speeches. Good enough test of the abilities. You can, of course, ask questions in between but that is it but nothing more.
In a stark contrast, MUNs are a whole different ball game. Here’s why:
They function along the lines of a standard United Nations committee. And to understand MUNs, we must understand the entity whose simulations they are.
The purpose of a United Nations committee is to pass a resolution on a consensus among its members on an issue on which almost certainly everyone disagrees.
The end goal is not for one team to ‘win’ or prove all the others wrong, it is to hash out differences without violence.
And this is clearly reflected in the simulations. There is no doubt that the participants or delegates debate over the issue on the table but it is the difference in the end goal that matters.
Since the end goal is passing a resolution, the delegates have to work together in tandem, keeping everyone’s preferences in mind and reach an equitable solution.
They have to use the skills of diplomacy, problem-solving, and their power of conviction and leadership skills to sway people over to their side. Furthermore, they have to take care of all back channel talks, take precaution that the opposing camp does not take away their support.
All delegates have to act like leaders in challenging political scenario. They have no political experience but still, they have to iron out solutions to issues that seasoned veterans themselves haven’t been able to.
All in all, MUNs are a holistic activity, which provide an all-round development for any delegate not only in the art of speaking, but in the art of convincing, leading and making deals.
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Looking at the other side of our motion at hand:
“If you place facts above rhetoric in a room full of suits who think debating is best kept at a minimum and politics is how you win, then congratulations. MUNs are your way to go.”
~ Sahib Singh
There’s a certain kick about parliamentary debating which is inexplicable and you don’t get that in an MUN, a conventional debate or any other popular form of debating for that matter.
My perspective might sound inherently like a fan-boy’s but allow me to explain why I place parliamentary debating at a higher pedestal.
Starting off, parliamentary debating tests your one perennial skill as a credible debater:
“Throw your facts out of the window and convince me” is the sole motto of a PD and that’s what makes it more advanced and diverse.
Extending the argument of its advancement over other styles, MUNs allow you to speak in sessions, where most arguments are generic and factual whereas bringing out the extensiveness and diversity of an argument as a whole is the essence of parliamentary debating, where a speech of 7 minutes can change the debate’s outcome and can even send the adjudicators in awe.
PDs allow everybody a fair and square chance to make their point and explain one’s argument in a coherent way which allows every participant to be efficient and gives them time to leave an impression, unlike the experience in a committee of 25 people and more than 100 in a General Assembly.
For those who come with the idea of MUNs developing teamwork:
I think they’ve misspelt the word “politics” because anyone who has done a 3 vs 3 parliamentary debate knows how difficult it is to decide speaker positions in clutch match-ups and deliver a 78-pointer speech under pressure. The 2 vs 2 style generally offers an open interjection round, something which is impossible in MUNs.
Coming to another idea which makes Parliamentary debating more accessible and gives it an edge is that there are separate tournaments for freshers as well as seasoned veterans, which makes the competition even and eliminates the idea of elitism by keeping no specific dress code, something which is considered as an important feature in MUNs.
So there you have it, folks. A simpler yet extensive debating format for me works any day above a format which promotes politics.
Go on, take your pick.
Image Credits: Google Images
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