Last weekend I attended the Canadian High School Model United Nations (CAHSMUN) in downtown Vancouver. Being a veteran at these types of conferences, and having attended this conference last year, it was incredible to see the skills that we taught in our Adventures in Public Discourse club being practiced in real life.
It became common practice for our delegation to get together after our committee sessions and commend one another on how we were able to push our agendas in each respective committee. The level of excitement within each of my fellow delegates’ post-conference deliberation was extraordinary.
Just at this conference, I saw all 21 of my fellow delegates step out of their comfort zone in some way. For some, it was by getting their first UN resolution passed; for others, it was trying a new tactic to whip enough votes for an imminent vote; and for those new to Model UN, it was their first time getting up in public and voicing their respective country’s position. No matter how each person stepped out of their comfort zone, I can confidently say that whenever somebody did take this leap of courage, the rewards were great.
My first experience with structured public discourse was when I when in Grade 9 when my history teacher, Mr. Goodman, recommended I participate in the annual Model Commonwealth conference held here at SMUS. It was at this conference where I was first exposed to the many adversities a real-life ambassador would face. Remarkably, however, dealing with such adversities actually became a rewarding, fun and great learning experience – I was hooked.
Since my first Model United Nations experience, I have become enamoured of public speaking and lobbying. Because of this interest, I fully immersed myself in the Adventures in Public Discourse club. As one of the heads of this club, I now help to design weekly workshops to further develop my peers’ public speaking, teamwork and critical thinking skills. The act of designing and carrying out United Nations simulations for others has taught me the importance of collaboration when dealing with real world problems. I have come to relish the act of sharing my experiences in debate and consensus building with the newer team members in our club.