What Did the 12 GMC Students Learn from the 2011 National Model UN Conference?
Before our 12 delegates go to the 2011 National Model UN Conference in NYC, we met every Sunday for two semesters to get ready for the conference. We invited GMC students who participated at NMUN in past years to talk about their experiences. The team researched and wrote position papers for each committee. Delegates read UN Charter, resolutions, treaties, conventions, and general research about UN. Delegates did intense research and discussion about Ethiopia, since we were representing this country. The team held formal session to practice and learn the rules and regulations. Most importantly, they practiced public speaking and how to write resolution. the weekend before we go to the conference, I cooked Afghani dishes by my own hands for delegates because they are special for me. I cooked Basmati rice, Chicken Curry, potato curry and some of our delegates helped with delicious dessert and we had a special dressed up dinner.
The team went to the conference ready to write resolutions, debate, negotiate and discuss the political topics and international affairs.
As mentioned in our last updates a delegation of 12 Green Mountain College students participated to New York City 2011 National Model UN Conference from April 17th-22nd, 2011. The conference took place in the heart of New York City, Time Square, at Sheraton Hotel. The GMC team was led, managed and papered by the NMUN Head Delegate Asadullah Sohail and advisor Keith McDade. The conference started on Sunday April 17th at 6pm with an opening ceremony at Sheraton Ball room. The key speakers were The 2011 NMUN Secretary General Ronny Heintze and Mr. Olav Kjorven, Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP. Committees were on session from 8am to 11pm everyday from Monday April 18 to Thursday April 22nd.
This conference brought 57, 00 delegates from five continents and over thirty countries and 150 colleges and universities to New York City. The delegation of Green Mountain College was representing The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at General Assembly 1st, 2nd, and 3rdCommittees, the African Development Bank, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Committee, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
In order to represent a country very well, the team needs to have enough knowledge about the country and UN. The delegation had two semesters of doing hard work, preparation, research and reading the UN resolutions, treaties, conventions, UN Charter, the Eight Millennium Development Goals. More importantly, our delegates researched about Ethiopia. They learned about Ethiopia’s history, economy, culture, religions, geography, politics and the relationship of the country with its neighboring countries and the world.
The mean purpose of National Model UN Conference was to give a unique opportunity for college students to better understand the inner workings of the United Nations while building skills in diplomacy, compromise, group working and drafting resolutions. Our delegation had worked tirelessly to get ready for this conference. At this conference they wrote resolutions addressing regional conflicts, peacekeeping, human rights, women and children, economic and social development, and the environment at six different committees.
Our delegation had its own Model UN because it was a diverse group of informed and committed leaders from U.S, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Nepal, Venezuela, Panama, Moldova, Turks and Caicos Island. As a head delegate I was happy to observe our delegates putting themselves out there from 8pm to 11pm discussing global issues, negotiating and working with other delegates to write resolutions. Kirstin Kelley and Tsering Sherpa was in General Assembly First Committee and their first agenda topic was Conventional Weapons Surplus Stockpiles. Kirstin mentioned that they “worked on a resolution with the Arab League, African Union, Uruguay, Myanmar, Lebanon, and a few others”. Their draft resolution was passed and they were really happy.
Neida Soto and I were in General Assembly Second Committee and our agenda topic was External debt and development: towards a durable solution to the debt of problems of developing countries. Neida and I worked with many African Union countries and wrote a resolution related to the topic.
Karrah Johnston and Elisa Morals were at GA3 committee. Their topic was promoting alternative development strategies to combat the world drug trade. Here is Karrah’s opinion about NMUN, “Through my participation in this remarkable conference I have been able to improve on my negotiation, communication, and collaboration skills”. She continued and said,” This is such a unique experience in that it affords an opportunity to interact with passionate, hardworking individuals from all over the world–making the simulation very similar to the actual United Nations experience”. All of our delegates have similar opinions about the conference.
David Newlands and Denise Castro were in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Committee. Dan Riley and Pieter Van Bezooyen were at African Development Bank and their topic was fostering clean water supply and sanitation. Daniel Kimatarle and Oleasea Cojohari were at the World Intellectual Property Organization. More importantly, one of our delegates Oleasea Cojohari was selected as chair for African Development Bank Committee.
The conference was ended with a closing ceremony at the United Nations General Assembly Hall.
Besides all the hard work, delegates had fun as well. Since our delegate was representing Ethiopia, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant called The Queen of Sheba. The “Test of the Queen” dish was amazing. The dish was combined of bread, lame, chicken, beans, beef, cabbage and egg. The last event was the Delegate Dance from 10pm to 3pm on Thursday. Lastly Daniel Kimatarle states that “the conference was a life changing experience. It provided knowledge and understanding of international affairs. I feel blessed to be there”.