Why I Joined Model UN (and Why You Should Too)

“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” – Mother Teresa

Perhaps you dislike the incessant pound of gavel upon wood, the almost palpable tension of a conference hall, or the deafening cockiness of talkative and unshaven International Relations students spouting technical mumbo-jumbo. Perhaps you fear the very notion of public speaking, the microphone in your hands, shaking as the board of DAIS calls you to speak, wondering exactly what the council of thirty to sixty other more confident and experienced delegates think of your vague and clumsy ramblings.

In other words, perhaps you’re like most first-time Model UN delegates, including myself; frightened, unsure and nervous beyond measure.

After enduring two MUNs, however, I can say for certain that the experience only gets better and better with each conference. For the uninitiated, Model United Nations is an event which simulates a real-world United Nations conference for high-schoolers and university students alike. A delegate may participate in different councils, such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), or a special ‘Crisis Committee’. The ultimate goal of a council is to achieve a mutually beneficial UN resolution or, in special cases such as the Crisis Committee, to defend a nation’s state and security from oncoming threats. During these council sessions, it’s sink or swim when it comes to surviving the constant onslaught of perspective, idea, proposition, argument and thought. Consistency, assertiveness and improvisation are key.

Being a delegate and participating in these councils aren’t easy. Many of the delegates present are highly experienced and knowledgeable about the topics at hand and the inner political and legal workings involved in these topics. Many of these delegates are also extremely confident, speaking in bold and unabashed tones, stating their points effectively and concisely, conveying their ideas with specificity and length. In the face of such opposition, one must learn to participate in the conversation constantly, to raise one’s placard for motion proposals, general speaker’s lists, and points of order, engaging in moderated and unmoderated caucuses, as well as consultations as a whole, all in the spirit of multilateral collaboration and mutual cooperation.

However exhausting these council sessions are, at the end of the day, you never regret any of it. You receive invaluable experience in contemplating issues and articulating ideas, make deep attachments with the delegates around you, and to top it all off, have an incredible time. Late social nights bring people together in unexpected friendships (with a lot of questionable dancing and an abundance of food as well). You meet people from all walks of life and from places all over the world. Working together with these people makes it truly difficult to say goodbye at the end.

I’ve met a lot of thoroughly talented and utterly amazing people during my last MUN. Meeting people like this would alone be a compelling reason to experience an MUN yourself; to build bridges, to learn cooperation, and to encounter a miniaturized representation of worldwide synergy. I hope to join another MUN in the future very soon, to meet more incredible people, and to constantly reach new heights in imagining, speaking, and growing.

Thanks to Ms. Apolline, Mr. Evan, and each and every one of my fellow delegates for all the unforgettable memories! See you at the next one!

To read more about my previous MUN:

Locomotive Nights – Snapshot #1