By Thomas Liu
Finalist for the 2018 Student Secretary-General of the Spring Model UN Conference
12th Grader at Langley High School in McLean, VA
This year, my five-year long Model UN career ended. As the new secretariat of Langley High School’s MUN team was elected, the seniors officially said goodbye one last time. As I sat and reflected on my MUN memories, I asked myself the essential questions: why I do MUN and what does MUN mean to me?
As an immigrant, when I first arrived in the United States in 8th Grade, I was a shy student without any confidence. During middle school MUN, I was left alone, I always sat in the back of the committee, speaking only once or twice throughout the whole conference. However, when I tried out for Langley’s nationally ranked Model UN team, still as a shy freshman, the senior officers gave me a chance and invited me to attend VAMUN hosted by the University of Virginia. That was my first out of twenty-six MUN conferences that I attended with Langley MUN.
Other than the irreplaceable friends and family that I’ve made within Langley MUN, Model UN thought me two major lessons: Networking & Advocacy.
Networking is an essential element in MUN and in real life. I first got involved with GCDC by accident, through an online post recruiting volunteers for the 2016 Spring Conference. Fortunately, I served as the Vice Chair of the Security Council Committee as the only high school student staff. Then, I found myself attending UNA-USA’s annual conference and became a member of our local UNA-NCA chapter. Without the mentorship and encouragement of Mr. Ed Elmendorf and without the networking skills that I have learned through MUN, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Through my networking and my introduction to UNA-NCA, I am now a member of the UNA- NCA Sustainable Development Committee and a staunch advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From leading and speaking at the first Congressional event on the SDGs broadcasted nationwide last summer to help organize DC’s premier diplomatic forum on the SDGs, I have fully utilized skill-sets which I have picked up from MUN and implementing them in a real-life situation, advocating for the SDGs. Model UN to me isn’t about winning gavels, it’s about making friends, networking, and advocacy.