On November 14th 2015, over 280 delegates came together, not at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, but at an ordinary high school in Maryland.
These delegates were a part of the 7th Annual Centennial High School Model United Nations Conference, a high school level conference held annually since 2009. As a completely student-run conference, it was amazing to see its success, and furthermore, its profound effect on students from all across the state.
At nine o'clock in the morning, delegates arrived to their prospective committees, among them the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), a Historical Committee, and two fast-paced Joint Crisis Committees. Each committee was lead by two co-chairs, both dedicated Model United Nations(U.N.) students across Howard County.
As a first-time chair of the United Nations HRC, I was unsure of what to expect, and even nervous for the entire process. The complex rules of parliamentary procedure seemed jumbled in my mind, and it took a lot of strength to gain confidence at the start of committee session. But as the day went on, the experience came naturally to me, and I can say without a doubt that it was one of the best Model UN conference experiences I’ve ever had.
In the HRC, delegates passionately debated the topic of the recruitment of child soldiers worldwide. Some of those leading debate included outstanding delegates from the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. In committee, delegates were not only exposed to different aspects of the issue at hand, but were also amused by the theatrical performances of delegates in their country’s character. The excitement level definitely rose to a maximum when the delegate from the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea stormed out of committee session in a perfectly executed act of fury.
Overall, each and every delegate was able to exhibit their extensive knowledge on a topic that, without the help of Model UN, they may have never thought about before. Novices and veterans alike were able to work with each other to pass a comprehensive resolution that supported the rehabilitation of child soldiers and prevent further recruitment. And for me, I was convinced that Model UN was something that I wanted to keep in my life. Seeing the impact of a successful committee session on the delegates and their positive response made me feel proud for all of the work that we, as students, can do to become better global citizens.
Thank you to my friend Amy Guo for coordinating this amazing conference, all of the staff and teachers that helped to make committee sessions run smoothly, my supportive co-chair that aided me every step of the way in this process, and most importantly, the amazing delegates that brought this council to life.
Author's Bio: Julie Wang is a sophomore at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Maryland. She is currently the youngest board member of the Centennial Model United Nations club, and is the founder of her school’s chapter of Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation. Julie has a passion for international relations, human rights activism, and supporting feminist movements.