As the great Tennessee Williams once said, “Time is the longest distance between two places.” In January, I participated in my final Model United Nations conference at ILMUNC XXXIII. I could never have imagined that four years ago, only as a freshman in high school that I would participate in an activity such as Model UN. It was only because of the encouragement of my friends and my curiosity that got me on such an incredible, educational, and transformative journey. Participating in Model UN for the past four years has been a privilege. Model UN has taught me so many life lessons and it has helped me develop my creativity because Model UN brings a lot of diversity through delegates’ different backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities. Now as my time in high school Model UN has passed, I reflect on my experience at ILMUNC and my transformation as a delegate.
One of the many moments that I will remember from ILMUNC XXXIII was my experience in committee. I was in a historical General Assembly called “United Nations Inaugural Session 1946”. Representing the Holy See, I had a difficult time strategizing how I was going to be present in committee. I thought to myself, “Did the Holy See even do anything in 1946 for the UN?”. The two topics for the committee were the regulation of atomic weapons and the punishment of war criminal. Despite doing research on the two topics, I was still uncertain about how any delegate would return to a country such as the Holy See. The thought of doing well was beyond me. Even worse, my friend who was supposed to serve as a double-delegation with me fell terribly sick. I was all alone with very little help. I was thinking about all of these dilemmas on the way to the conference from New York City. However, one of the few motivations that I had was that ILMUNC XXIII was my last collegiate conference that would compete in. Everything hinged on just four days. The first step I entered into committee I was overwhelmed by nerves as well as a desire to get an award. However, I felt was relaxed as well and told myself to just focus on the conference.
By having this inner motivation, I remembered what I was taught at Best Delegate. The iconic and inspirational phrase, “The best delegate brings out the best in other delegates” came to mind. Having participated in all the programs over the past three years, starting with the Diplomat program in 2014, I have been able to take something special from each one. From the Diplomat program, I had Marie Hanewinkel as my MUN Mentor. Marie was gracious and funny- she helped realize my talent as a public speaker in Model UN. I remember how nervous I was, always stuttering during public speaking activities in the program. However, Marie helped me gain confidence to deliver strong and forceful speeches. During the Ambassador program, I had Eric Chen as my MUN Mentor. Eric, being supportive and witty, helped me gain a competitive edge as a delegate and increase my presence in committee. For this past summer, I participated in the Secretary-General program and had Lala Kumakura as my MUN Mentor. Lala’s instructive and caring nature helped me to be more of a leader and a role model to other delegates. Finally, I completed my Best Delegate tenure in the Crisis program with Caroline Rose as my MUN Mentor. Since Caroline was compassionate and welcoming, she helped become a better Crisis delegate as well as become an overall passionate delegate for Model UN. All of the MUN Mentors that I had over the past three years have helped me and inspired me to be the person that I am today.
As I approached the end of my last high school conference at ILMUNC, I spent it the best way that I possibly could: spending time with friends and my delegation. As a senior in my school, one of my many goals has been to give back to my community, which includes my Model UN club. Over the four days at ILMUNC, I got to have a special bond with each of the members of my delegation. Since we have a small delegation, I was able to talk especially to younger members of my delegation, as many of them had not been to a collegiate conference before. With this, I was able to give some words of wisdom to instill a motivation to my fellow members. Also, I got the chance to catch up with friends, including those from Best Delegate. During my free time, I got the opportunity to talk with fellow MUN Institute Alumni Rory Britt. Rory was in the Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary-General. For those who don’t know, delegates who do Ad-Hoc have to apply to participate in the committee and only receive their assignment weeks before the conference starts. This past summer, I got the chance to be a delegate along with Rory in the Crisis Program at the MUN Institute. After some time apart, we were both very happy to see each other and personally, I was glad to see Rory doing so well.
Seeing friends, such as Rory, was something special as I look back on my last Model UN conference. In only four short days, I experienced feelings and emotions that I had been feeling for the past four years as a delegate. Going to conferences, meeting new people, and engaging in stimulating debate, Model UN has become a significant part of my life. I would say without Model UN, I would not have been invested in the exciting subjects within political science and international affairs. Especially without Model UN, I wouldn’t have found Best Delegate and the MUN Institute. It may be that my time as a delegate is over for this chapter of my life but I am hopeful that I will get the chance to return in college.