Wake up! It’s 5:50 am and my alarm rings. My roommate just sleeps through it but I am on a mission. I shower, pack my suits and bowties, then head over to the Welsh kitchen. There I meet my team, my brothers and sisters in arms representing Mongolia at the Harvard Model United Nations conference. At Welsh, Alex, the club president, is making us crêpes with nutella, the breakfast of champions. We head off to the airport and fly to Boston.
After checking in at the hotel, a quick twenty-minute walk from the conference, we headed out to get burgers. While sitting with my fellow “Mongolian” delegates, we briefly discussed what was going to occur. This was the first time many of our team members’ participated in Model UN and even fewer of us had been to the Harvard conference before, so we had no idea what we were getting into. After realizing we had stayed in the burger joint too long, we ran a few blocks to get to the opening session on time.
We were struck by the sheer size of the conference. Close to three thousand students from over sixty countries were present. There we sat in the Grand Ballroom, ready to be awakened with a sense of passion, not for one’s country, but for humanity. People flew in from Venezuela, China, the Netherlands, Ghana, Peru, and many other countries. The previous US ambassador to Austria took the stage. She gave a rousing speech and a call to action to look beyond the dilemmas facing each individual nation, and to look at how we as a global community can work together to uplift us all. Then committee started.
I walked into a room of seventy people and immediately began schmoozing to see who would be my potential allies and enemies. The topic, violience against LGBTQ indivuals, was chosen. From there, representatives from various nations began speaking about how their country has attempted to solve the problem. Everyone wrote frantic notes to see who would support their ideas in a resolution. Writing resolutions is the key because these pieces of paper mimic real UN resolutions which push national governments in certain directions. Resolutions most of the time do not convey any hard power but they essentially are used to pressure nations towards moving in specific directions.
Things really started to pick up as we discussed ideas about education programs, better policing, hotlines, as well as many others. The meetings spilled into breakfast coffee runs where we were all frantically arguing and writing, making sure that our nation’s interests were represented. After three full days of arguing and negotiating it all came down to a vote.
There were four groups of countries each writing their own resolution, and I was working on two seperate ones, thinking that the two would merge. Instead of the two obvious mergers they instead merged with another resolution that I had no previous connection to, and I then became the ally of the only two opposing resolutions on the floor. The resolutions also had exactly half the amount of votes, one less for them to pass, and only one could pass. Realizing the difficulty of my situation as the ally of both resolutions, I was able to extract concessions from both sides in an attempt to get the best deal for Mongolia. When we entered the voting procedure on the resolutions, to determine which one would pass and which fail, I decided that, in the best interest of the Mongolian people, we would vote against both resolutions. Things got crazy in the immediate aftermath of my destruction of the committee. It was a hard decision to betray my allies. I did openly lie to both sides about my support, just to make sure they would not try to win votes from others. The end result was three days of negotiations and deal making only to be torpedoed by me because the coalitions did not meet my demands.
These experiences can only be offered in Model UN. The politicking and deal making will excite any thrill seeker, not to mention the social aspects as well. There was a delegate dance, with international music, an international bazaar, and a casino night. Model UN is more than just pretending to be a diplomat from some random far flung nation, it’s an eye opening experience and a great chance to meet people one would normally never have the chance to meet. Meeting Venezuelans who were protesting against their corrupt president, meeting Chinese students and learning about their educational system — these opportunities are only offered at Model UN.
Goucher’s Model UN club is also planning on attending a local conference at Gettysburg College soon and we are open having to new and adventurous delegates.