This is part of a series by Global Classrooms DC, an education program under the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area that uses Model United Nations as an activity and tool to teach international issues and geopolitics to students grades 5 – 12. Many of the current and former interns and staff have participated in Model U.N., and for many it has been a reason for the field we study and ultimately has a soft place in our hearts. Over the next few weeks, we will share with you our memories of Model U.N., and the reasons we believe it matters. This series was sparked by the recent publication of “What Model U.N. Is, and Why It Matters,” by Spencer Mariotti in The Huffington Post – Teen Edition
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Model U.N.
I came into high school shy and awkward, with some writing potential but no speaking skills. I had some idea that I wanted to be a journalist, but otherwise no ambition. In fact, I only started doing Model U.N. in sophomore year of high school because my friends had joined the club as freshmen to boost their college applications (their words, not mine).
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Model U.N.But then I was assigned to represent Afghanistan in the Disarmament and International Security Committee in my first conference, and I loved every part of the process. I loved researching about nuclear non-proliferation, especially as a controversial country at the time. I loved working with the students representing North Korea, Iran and Iraq, three states I had been taught to automatically be wary of, but in Model U.N. had become my allies. I loved artfully dodging questions from the United States, working hard to stay in line with my country’s beliefs, and writing working papers to perfectly outline policies.
I ended up winning the Best Delegate award and the gavel at my first conference ever, but I couldn’t care less. I only cared about learning how speak up more, even when the introverted side of me had no desire to do so. I was invested in writing faster and clearer position papers, not only to set an example for my club members but also prepare more for the conferences in the future. Above all, I loved being able to solve any problem that came my way, whether I was Egypt solving the water crisis in the Middle East or Colin Powell trying to prevent nuclear war in Iran in 2003.
I loved artfully dodging questions from the United States, working hard to stay in line with my country’s beliefs, and writing working papers to perfectly outline policies.That passion has taken me through college as I continued doing Model U.N. and as I’ve worked in DC at a variety of internships and jobs. I can definitively say that my life would have been very different if I hadn’t discovered Model U.N.
Author's Bio: Nicole Bohannon is a senior at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, studying European and Latin American affairs, and Program Coordinator for Global Classrooms DC at UNA - NCA. Born and raised in Washington, DC, she has always had a strong interest in international politics. She has worked and interned in non-profits, think tanks, and consulting groups in high school and college. Before working at Global Classrooms DC, she interned for the Atlantic Council in their Transatlantic Relations Program.