Rebecca Johnson is a current GLP student and the president of the Macquarie United Nations Society (MUNS). She recently attended the National Model United Nations conference in New York, and this is the first time that Macquarie University has attended this conference. Read on to hear more…
When Thera Watson stood up on the pedestal in the United Nations building and declared the National Model United Nations Conference 2014 officially closed, I felt the smile spread across my face. Looking at my friends, co-delegates and the people I had been lucky enough to embark on this journey with, I knew they felt the same way I did: relief, pride and a certain degree of disbelief. Five and a half long months of organising, planning, researching and travelling and we had finally completed the conference, for everyone, especially for those first-timers, this was an incredibly humbling experience. After a week of little sleep, making new friends, learning to be diplomatic and also dealing with New York weather, I strongly believe we have all grown, become closer with each other and learnt a lot through this conference experience.
Model United Nations involves representing a country in a specific topic-based committee or organ of the United Nations. In this simulation each delegates’ (students) final goal is to have written and passed a resolution with their other representative states in their committee. Since participating in Model United Nations conferences just over a year ago, I have improved my communication skills, organisational skills and become more diplomatic, but NMUN challenged me in a way I never knew was possible. The NMUN rules of procedure differ quite fiercely from those we are used to participating under, and as a result the whole delegation was all thinking on their feet and learning as they went. NMUN is one of the most prestigious conferences in the world, attended by over 2000 university students in one week, and we are incredibly privileged to have been able to attend. Sending a delegation of 12 students to represent Dominica, this is the first time Macquarie University has ever attended this particular conference, and the students tried their absolute hardest to represent themselves to the highest degree. The delegates that we sent were either in a committee by themselves, or with a partner, all performed incredibly well and we had some fantastic results.
As head delegate of the group, I was constantly hearing good reports back, along with funny moments, or proud moments from each delegate and events that had occurred in their respective committees. Model United Nations is not easy at the best of times and this is by far the largest conference any of us have attended. With our delegates studying diverse degrees such as Law, Arts, Politics, Finance and Anthropology and a diverse range of committee specialisations, these conferences are not only beneficial to our social development but also to our intellectual growth and there are many study related benefits the students will receive as a result of attending this conference.
As head delegate I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to roam around committees and see how each delegate was doing, I was incredibly impressed with what I saw, from our delegate in the Third General Assembly leading a conversation, to those in General Assembly One making a fantastic speech, and various others writing papers or suggesting amendments. All in all I can say I thoroughly enjoyed this conference and was incredibly privileged to attend with a group that shares a similar interest in International Affairs and the United Nations, and after the conference I am very lucky to call each and every one of them my friends. To anyone considering attending a conference such as this, or even a domestic Model United Nations event; I would most definitely encourage it. There are all the benefits described as above, the potential of a new social circle and many others that I don’t have room to mention -including exploring and staying in the heart of a city like New York!