Model United Nations

By Luke Tollen ‘19

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As we would say according to parliamentary procedure at Model United Nations, “Motion to write about my experience with the Model UN club. This motion passes!”

     The Model UN delegation of thirteen Friars was happy to participate in the 20th anniversary of the John Hopkins University Model United Nations Conference (JHUMUNC).  Each member of our school’s delegation was given very different roles, but for all the same purpose - to help promote peace and prosperity in the world. In Model UN, in the role of diplomats from various nations, we prepared over many months for a great conference. We began in early October. We talked about geography and modern day politics. This then later broke into research about our assigned country, which for most of us this year was Poland. We quickly sprang into action at the conference itself this February, learning as much as we could about our committees and topics for debate. I was put on the standing committee for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) committee, with two great topics: The Gender Gap in the STEM Program, and International Waters and Fishing Management.  There were over 100 students in my committee, from schools all over the region and other states as well.  All together, there were about 1400 delegates at our conference, which lasted from Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.

     When I started my research I felt that I had to pick a side on the debate, you were for helping it or you were against it. Once we got to the conference, everything changed. There was plenty to debate. We, UNESCO, would spend 2 days discussing the problem of the Gender Gap. We ended with our resolutions to give women more access to primary and secondary education, promotions on spreading the idea of closing the gap, economic incentives for women, and healthcare to ensure a woman’s ability to work. These ideas were proposed by students from the ages of 15-18. The next topic was my main topic, because of the leadership I took to help build the resolutions. The International Waters and Fishing Management topic went swiftly because of the dwindling time near the end of the conference. When we finished our first topic, I sprang into action, assembling delegations of countries to agree on a joint resolution. We created a resolution that addressed the most issues among the proposed resolution, and ours was the one the committee passed. Again, I was amazed by the creative ideas the students in my committee had about solving global issues.

     It takes guts to be a strong delegate in Model UN. I learned that I would have to write several speeches, clauses, and hundreds of notes to become a strong delegate. If Model UN does anything for you in the long run, it encourages confidence. The idea of giving a speech in front of 4 college students (who run the committees) and 50 other students in high school was nerve racking. I decided that I had to break out of my shell and talk, to show others that I meant business and that I was looking for success. This was my first time in the club, and so I certainly was hindered by the lack of knowledge of what goes down during committee. I caught on quickly and joined the competition, becoming a strong delegate. Though debate in committee is important, you also have to be able to speak with others that you have never met. These people will either become close friends or enemies as you work on resolutions, so it is an important skill. 

     My favorite part of the club was meeting other delegates and making friends with people I have never met before.  I went my first day with an assigned seat and had no clue what was happening. I saw some people that were talking. I sent a note to them asking them for their views on the topic. Just like that, we became close friends. We would work, debate, and talk for our resolutions the whole time at committee. Sometimes would not even know each other’s first name; we knew each other just by our country’s name. People would see me in the hotel and say, “Hey, Poland!”  Another issue was that you needed to do a lot of work in most cases. It came down to who is the better person and is willing to help others than help themselves. One of the greatest memories from the trip was meeting a new friend named, Jason. Jason was more prepared then any delegate in the committee. We shared a common issue.  We both had put strong efforts into the first resolution. During the second day. Jason and I were betrayed by other delegates and lost control of our resolution. Through this experience of we built trust and brotherhood. Jason and I both then worked on the biggest resolution that in turn would solve problems on the second topic. Through our efforts, we had not only redeemed ourselves but also had redeemed our allies who lost out on our first resolution along with us. We became heroes to them and to ourselves. It was also very important to bond with my Curley brothers. Jordan Spicer shared the same committee with me. We both talked constantly on what we learned, about the other delegates, and what we could do to enhance the debates.

     I left JHUMUNC 2017 with new ideas of my future career plans, and new friends from all over the nation.  These bonds between others and myself would never had grown if it wasn’t for the Model UN, the ideas of how the UN operates, and the ability to know that we can solve global issues. Only being a sophomore, I look forward to the next two years of seeing the people I met this year and solving more issues. To my Curley brothers I say: this club will help you. If you seek success like I do, please, I encourage you to join this club.

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