Friday, June 7, 2019

Why MUN Matters: Asking the Big Questions

By Ghina Sabeh Aayoun
Finalist for  2019 Student Secretary-General of the Spring Model UN Conference
Lebanese American University

Three months into my 3rd year in middle school, I crossed paths with a very unusual word as I was going to class. Plastered over a large poster on the notice board in the corridor were three letters: “MUN”. Curiosity got the best of me that day, and I was compelled to ask my teacher what that word meant. Little did I know that that word was about to stimulate an era of growth in mindset and revolutionize the way I view the world.

Not only has MUN changed my life, it has given me the opportunity to develop political awareness I wouldn’t have otherwise developed.

Later that year, I went on to participate in three conferences. I arrived to the first one with my knees clattering and my fists sweating buckets. I delivered my first speech ever with much of that nervousness still lodged in every corner of me. As those sixty pairs of eyes staring at me from across the enormous room, I felt vulnerable. My first conference was a train wreck, but I loved it. I looked up to those delegates who were so confident, so sharp, and so determined, and I viewed them as idols. “This is what I want to become”. I set a goal and I pursued it because Model United Nations ignited that spark in me. It opened up the door for me to discover the many things I can be, and in turn allowed me to revisit how I handle myself, and how I view the world.

Away from the field action though, MUN has also done me favors behind the scenes. The task seemed fairly simple - research, represent, resolve. But like all searches conducted on the internet, one thing led to the other. As I was researching, I found myself asking some big questions. Who has power? Is it the stakeholders? Who limits power? Does power really lie in the hands of the people or are democracies dying? These questions aren’t ones we would expect a thirteen-year old to be asking. The political awareness generated by the extensive reading required in Model United Nations allowed me to develop opinions.

The initiative to change one’s character, the development of opinions on polarizing subjects, those are huge milestones in my life I can only thank that strange word I saw on that poster. So, for that I say, thank you, MUN.

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