In high school, I did not have many life-changing experiences. I mostly had my head down and did whatever I was told to do to get good grades, build my resume, or get into college. However, one of the few really influential things I did was join Model UN. I joined without a real understanding of what Model UN is or what it means. MUN is a mock conference of the United Nations where high schools or colleges represent different countries to committees. For example, my sophomore year was the first year of my involvement, and I represented Iraq to the World Intellectual Property Organization. I wrote resolutions and caucused and quickly became 1. generally overwhelmed, and 2. completely in love.
Coming to college, I knew that I wanted to continue my involvement in Model UN, as it is one of the driving forces for my interest in a career in the field of international relations. So, bright-eyed, I joined the club and eagerly showed up to the first meeting. It was definitely a shock that not many people came to the first meeting. Anchorage high schools and UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) have a very robust Model UN program that hundreds of students participate in each year, so it was definitely discouraging to see only a few people come to the first meeting, and even less continue to come to meetings. However, the people that have stuck with it are just as passionate as me about MUN, and it has been an awesome community to be involved in.
A few weeks ago, we hosted the Midwest Model UN Conference for local middle school students. I didn’t really know how to prepare, if at all, so I just went to the forum building, ready to wing it. It was the first time I have been on the administrative side (monitoring the students and leading the meeting rather than debating resolutions and caucusing). It was a shift in perspective, and it was so rewarding to see the middle school kids passionately but respectfully debate their opinions on international issues. I even got to lead the committee meeting for the second session, so I stood up at the front of the room and instructed the kids on what we were doing and what the proper procedure for various actions was. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to leading another committee in March when we host the high school conference.
In the mean time, we are preparing for our own collegiate-level conference February 22nd to 25th. We’re going to St. Louis for the Midwest Model United Nations conference. This week we signed up for committees, and my first choice was the Women, Peace, and Security session of the Security Council and my second choice is the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees) because I have a special passion for refugee issues and have represented India to the UNHCR in the past. This year we’re representing France, so we’re looking forward to a busy and heated conference, especially in regards to refugee issues. I’m beyond excited to road trip with these wonderful people to St. Louis and experience what I love at a whole new level.