Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why MUN Matters: Skills I Could Never Acquire Anywhere Else

By Lars Greenlee
Finalist for the 2018 Student Secretary-General of the Spring Model UN Conference
8th Grader at Frost Middle School in Fairfax County

Model United Nations represents bringing people together from different backgrounds, and grants the opportunity to discuss and learn about current worldwide issues and to develop life skills. MUN has shaped me into a better person. During committee, I have learned valuable life skills that make me a more prominent individual. Before Model UN, I did not worry about politics or the UN, but since I have attended every conference available to me, I have learned more about the world.

In the past, I’ve often read about current world issues, but I felt like I couldn’t voice my thoughts or that my thoughts would be pertinent to those around me. Model UN has changed my perceptions: I can discuss and learn about global policies that I am unable to obtain anywhere else. I can now watch the news and have an understanding of what is occurring in the world. Because of MUN, I have gained knowledge of countries and how they interact with each other. When a conflict in the world happens, I know where to research, how to learn more about the problem, and think of a possible solution. I also understand the hard work and dedication it takes to be a UN representative.

Model UN is the most important academic and extracurricular activity to me. It has taught me skills I could never acquire anywhere else, and I have learned to hone my reading, writing, and research skills. I have gained better speaking skills and have less fear of standing up in front of people in committee. I know many people who were afraid to speak in front of people, but after a year of MUN, they are speaking during almost every opportunity available. Also in committee, I have gained and developed leadership, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. I have even been tasked to argue a point I may not believe in. Being able to negotiate is another important technique I have developed from Model United Nations. Being able to work with two ideas and put them together into one is very crucial. One of the most important concepts I have learned throughout MUN, though, is to listen to other people. Sometimes listening to others’ ideas is more critical in committee than stating your own opinions. I used to be the person who always talked first, but now I realize that it is beneficial to listen to others and not speak all the time. All of the experiences during Model UN has allowed me to develop  into a better person.

Model United Nations is changing my life for the better. I have a preeminent understanding of the world and cultures around me. I have developed some of the most important skills in life. I can discuss topics I enjoy during committee. I have learned to listen and negotiate with people. Model United Nations means to me the ability to  learn about the world while also developing necessary social skills.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Why MUN Matters: Enlightened to Pressing Issues

By Dana Jammoul
Finalist for the 2018 Student Secretary-General of the Spring Model UN Conference
11th Grader from the Lebanese American University Delegation

Life is all about experiences. Each person with the life he or she was given can choose to add value to this life or to live without a purpose. We must learn to appreciate each opportunity given to us and explore it and learn from it as much as we can.

Signing up to participate in the Model UN was definitely the opportunity that allowed me to explore my capabilities. It was the knife that cut into a box of talents I had in me that I thought I never had. Week after week I would wait for each training session eagerly. The lovely spirit the trainers had added to their solid and fruitful material was enlightening. From the issues they were tackling, I learned about the importance of respecting the rules and procedures of every place I would later walk into, listening to others’ ideas rather than opposing them, as well as public speaking tips that will carry on with me in every speech I make.

The stage that impacted me the most in this whole experience was during the two weeks in which we had to prepare for the final conference. Throughout those weeks, my entire state of mind shifted in a way it hadn’t before. I was enlightened to pressing issues depicting a threat to our world as well as policies and terminologies I hadn’t been exposed to before. Model UN showed me how ignorant I was, and that created an appetite for information as I found joy in researching. I would sometimes get carried away with all the knowledge I was gaining.

The day I was finally done with researching, I flipped into the pages I had printed and smiled at all the information present that had already been imprinted in the back of my brain. The day I walked into the final conference, I walked up with a smile and excitement. My most important goal was to solve the problem we were given in our background guides, and with that ideology was I able to offer the best version of myself.

All in all, Model UN gave me skills I will carry on with me later on in life whether it was in school, college, or my future career. I shall never forget all the amazing memories I went through when I was once an 11th grader participating in an amazing experience known as the Model UN.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why MUN Matters: We Are a Global Family

By Ahmad Bromund
Finalist for the 2018 Student Secretary-General of the Spring Model UN Conference
9th Grader from Muslim Community School/Alim Academy in Maryland

“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.” Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan made this statement to the United Nations in his millennium message nearly two decades ago, and it still rings true today. In a world where people are judged and divided by religion, culture, race, and socioeconomic status, partaking in Model United Nations (MUN) has taught me the importance of working together as one society for the greater good of mankind.

MUN is an excellent program in which students have the opportunity to explore ideas and solutions for today’s most pressing issues, as well as develop exceptional speaking, debating, and researching skills. MUN also teaches principles of diplomacy, leadership, and critical thinking. In the three MUN conferences I have attended, I have learned that in order to be a strong speaker and debater, I must first be a strong listener. The only way a group of problem-solvers and critical thinkers can be productive is to listen to others’ ideas and have an open mind. Going into a setting such as MUN with this mindset of listening, opposed to just hearing, opens the door to greater possibilities.

In the three years I have been involved with MUN, my understanding of global thinking and sense of community has expanded exponentially. Throughout my MUN journey, I have been particularly inspired by a quote from former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “As the young leaders of tomorrow, you have the passion and energy and commitment to make a difference.

What I’d like to really urge you do is to have a global vision. Go beyond your country; go beyond your national boundaries. We are very fortunate to live in a country such as the United States. In this country, we have extreme comforts and privileges, which can cause our working minds to become constricted. Participating in MUN has expanded my mind and vision from a personal scale to a global scale. It’s not all about me and those in my sphere anymore; I must think about my fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering around the world, for we are a global family.

For example, I had never heard of the crisis in the Sahel and Chad Basin until MUN this year, and now I have the chance to study and analyze the causes and solutions for this crisis. I love how MUN brings the world closer together, showing me that I, along with my peers can have a positive impact on this world, because everyone deserves basic human rights.

The MUN body represents striving for our peace and unification. At the conferences, dividing lines become a blur. Differences are put aside and minds start to work together in harmony, to solve a problem, that none of us can solve alone. We work with fellow diplomats of different races, religions, and backgrounds, and we respect them for who they are and what they believe. We learn to put our differences aside and focus on solidarity, so we can all work and strive for peace together. We become many minds put together, working with one another as one powerful force. Then hand in hand, as one entity with one goal, we will all work to bring issues to rest, one by one.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Why MUN Matters: Inspires to Make a Difference

By Queen Balina
2018 Student Secretary-General of the Spring Model UN Conference
8th Grader from Cabin John Middle School in Maryland

Model United Nations means many things to me. Yes, it may be a club, an activity, a pastime, but it means so much more as well. The world, as we all know, is not perfect, and it may never be. But Model UN dares me to imagine what a perfect world would look like. We not only learn about the global and local issues being faced today, but also how these issues could affect humanity in the future.

When attending a Model UN conference, I am challenged to reach logical and possible solutions to difficult questions. Participating in Model UN gives us an opportunity to try and fix the world that we will someday be leading, and allows us to use our creativity as an advantage, an untried angle, a new approach to seemingly unsolvable problems.

By solving the problems of today, we are becoming the leaders of tomorrow. One more child, inspired by what they have learned, is one more child, working to change the world as we know it. By getting involved now, more can be accomplished to solve the problems that humanity currently faces.

I am more aware of what goes on around me when in Model UN, and how these problems affect not only me, but the global community as a whole. It is difficult not to be impacted by Model UN, because it is meant to change students and their perception of the world around them. Model UN inspires me to make a difference, even if only in just one single way. Like many other students in Model UN, I learn about how to speak in public, and how to communicate with others.

I also learn about the world as a whole – Model UN has changed me into a global citizen. I am not just concerned about issues, but actively working to solve the problems I see in my community. I have been transformed into a student who is willing to solve problems, willing to compromise, and willing to speak up for my beliefs.

In a way, my life and other students’ lives are changed, because we go from simply seeing the world’s problems to wanting to fix them. Model United Nations is not just a club. Not just an activity. Not just a pastime. To me, it is an experience. It is an inspiration.

Model United Nations makes us strive to change the world, because it is our world. And tomorrow, we will be its leaders.