by Julia Milden, Grade 9
Last weekend, I, along with a variety of Senior School students in Grades 9-12, had the amazing opportunity to travel to Vancouver in order to participate in the Model United Nations. This year, what is one of the largest Model U.N.’s in North America took place at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, hosting over six committees and 250 delegates from January 15-17, 2010.
The event was organized into six different committees, and out of those, each delegate was assigned a country to represent during discussions and debates. My partner and I were given the country of Somalia, which we spoke for in the World Health Organization Committee (WHO). Other committees included the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and two Korean War Cabinets.
Over the three days, the WHO spent over 18 hours in session, discussing the two main topics of mental health and maternal health. My partner and I had done preliminary research on both the topics, and our country; however when we walked into the room it was very overwhelming. About 150 people sat in twenty four rows of chairs facing a podium, where delegates would stand to speak upon behalf of their country. There was much to learn: session etiquette, vocabulary, proceedings, as well as learning how to quickly write speeches and gain the confidence to rise in front of the entire room and speak your mind, knowing it would be questioned and debated. Ultimately, our committee was incredibly successful and created, debated and passed three resolutions – our combined ideas and plans on how to combat mental health, maternal health, as well as one ‘surprise midnight crisis’ – an unexpected, though fictional global health problem which was imposed upon us at 1:45 am, simulating a possible unpredicted U.N. scenario.
This amazing educational opportunity taught me many things not only about the role of the United Nations and how it functions, but also how to form compromises and build bridges with other people, in order to ultimately create viable solutions to global problems. I know that I will be back next year, ready to learn, lead, and serve.