After a large and impressive showing by Waynflete at the Maine Model UN Conference earlier this month, two student participants were asked why they participate in this time consuming activity. Read on to learn what they had to say.
Althea Sellers ’17, Diplomacy Award
There is probably nothing I looked forward to more this year than Model UN. When the email went out letting us know it was time to sign up, I confirmed my enrollment seven minutes after it sent.
Last year as a freshman I signed up for Model UN on a whim, assuming that it would be fun and a good way to expose myself to the world of politics and diplomacy – an area that I was pretty sure I wanted to hold a career in someday. I went in completely blind. I’d written my position papers (short papers detailing your country’s stance on two assigned topics) but I knew next to nothing about what I was in for. Three days later, I was exhausted as I hauled my bag into my mom’s car, but I was also incredibly sad that I’d have to wait another year to have that amazing experience back.
Model UN exposes students to a world of roleplay in a sense. For three days, we get to pretend that we are a set of leaders, each of us working to make the world a better place while looking out for the interests of our countries. We draft resolutions and form voting blocs. We pass notes to people trying to recruit them and/or threaten them. We work outside of committee sessions and get so invested in our country that when Syria starts attacking the USA (us!), we have to remind ourselves that he isn’t trying to be rude to us, that’s just him doing a good job.
Sometimes in school it feels like we spend a lot of time learning the skills that we’re going to be using for the rest of our lives – which is obviously good and necessary, but maybe not always exciting. With Model UN, it’s as though you’ve already grown up and you’re doing things right in that minute. It’s up, up, up for three days and every minute a frenzy of excitement and fun.
I would say comfortably that signing up for Model UN my freshman year was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my high school career, and I’ve gotten so, so much out of these last two years. I plan to do Model UN for the next two and hopefully into college, and I feel so lucky that Model UN has such a big presence at Waynflete. It’s an amazing way to be.
Cooper Bramble ‘16, Distinguished Delegate Award
Although I was at first a touch reluctant to sign up, I thoroughly enjoyed my first year of model UN in ninth grade. While I suppose many wonder what aspect Model UN is so interesting and how this activity manages to attract such a large portion of the Waynflete Upper School, at the risk of sounding mildly corny, I would ask the question: what about model UN is not interesting? Granted the accommodations and food might leave a little to be desired, but for me over the past three years I have enjoyed the entire process of assuming the role of a foreign diplomat. I have enjoyed pursuing the policies (policies that often seem to counter those of the United States) of the countries I have represented and debating with those who represent a different stance. Model UN has been an excellent experience and I would recommend it to just about anyone.
Abdi Dahir ’15, Honorable Mention
Maine Model UN is a conference for high schoolers and middle schoolers to step into the shoes of thousands of UN delegates around the world. We spend months studying and researching what goes on in the countries we are assigned to. We remove ourselves from any bias we have toward America and take on the role of a nationalist from the country we are representing. This is very hard and time-consuming work and isn’t required. One may ask: why is it worth it? I personally have been doing this conference for four years and would do it again if allowed. I’ve always wondered why it is so hard for countries around the world to agree with each other on, in my mind, simple topics like girls’ education and immigration but after attending this conference you learn the true hardships delegates go through. With cultures, religions, and ideals clashing it is close to impossible to come to equal terms. I’ve learned many lessons from Model UN that can shape my future in delegating problems I stumble upon and that is why I love going to these conferences.