Model United Nations Participants Speak of Being Highschool Delegates

By: The Sunday Times

DELEGATES from the Geneva Conference and Accords of 1954 and the Manhattan Project discussed their topics amicably, but not without their respective disagreements. In presenting working papers as well as in regular debate, delegates challenged the points of others and the heated debate ensued. Duringunmoderated caucuses and breaks, the delegates spoke on the personal effects of transitioning from formal delegate poise back to a high school student.

The transition to delegate from student, and back, was generally thought to be rather easy; however, response to how the delegate assumed their roles varied. “You have a certain idea of your point of view and you can insert it in some sort of way into what your delegate thinks”, said Raul Ceron from the Geneva Accords. However, over in the Manhattan Project, Maggie Hou stated: “there's a certain personality change the comes with it [switching to delegate poise], speaking from a personal experience, as my character is described as the most ruthless that has ever lived and I hope I'm not that”.

The diversity that Model United Nations (MUN) achieves can be partially attributed to how a delegate goes about assuming their roles and is obvious with these delegates’ responses. Observing a committee in session, it is also clear that the success of MUN is largely based on the unity of a committee. With this in mind, the Sunday Times asked delegates if they viewed fellow participants as other students gathered at a competition or as delegates striving to solve pressing issues.

“I definitely view them as other delegates, obviously, they are students, but when you're in committee acting as your character you kind of put the student away,” said Katrina Carver from the Geneva Accords on the matter. Other interviews showed the same opinions across delegates of the Geneva Accords and the Manhattan Project, such as Maggie Hou who stated “it's very easy to get into the roll and then once you're there, like most of the people in there I don't know the names of, so I think of them in respect of characters.”

The heated debate was a notable occurrence in both committees as they occurred often and usually between the same characters in each respective committee. In an interview, several of the characters that were seen to initiate passionate and intense debate frequently were asked about their feelings for the delegates they disagreed with in committee and if they harboured any negative feelings towards them when session concluded.

Ziming Gao from the Manhattan Project responded, “once I leave that room, everyone is still friends”. Aaditeya Jhaveri, also delegating in the Manhattan Project, echoed these sentiments, “The committee should be something that brings you together, I don't think it rips you apart even if you're against someone”. 

Finally, when inquiring on how these delegates learned to transition from delegate to student and back so well, Nikisha Thapar said: “Focus on having fun and enjoying the debate as opposed to getting caught up in it and letting your personal feelings get in the way”. Raul Ceron shared equally sound insight stating: “Think of others not so much as other delegates but as people who also deserve to be heard.”

The resolutions and debate occurring in MUN conferences may never be considered or addressed by those outside of the conference. Regardless, MUN has achieved a goal greater than any resolution or debate and that is cultivating ayouth that understands the gravity of world conflicts and can resolve such without personal bias and can have disagreements that do not change their personal views on others. With a youth that has such potential, the future may be much more sound.