KidSpirit

Model United Nations

After weeks of research, tedious work and studying, we were finally ready to tackle Model United Nations.

Two teachers, four fellow students and I caught the 2:30 train from Westport, Connecticut to New York’s Grand Central Station. For two months we had prepared diligently for this momentous occasion. Would I be able to provide the right support my team? Had I worked as hard as I should have or would I disappoint them? Could I be the voice Guatemala needed?

Model United Nations is a simulation of the UN that seeks to educate participants about current events, communication and diplomacy. Students must use a variety of research and critical thinking skills to represent the policies of their assigned country. Teams write position papers and debate other students from around the world on a given topic. My partner and I were responsible for proposing ways to decrease the spread of infectious diseases like malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis in Guatemala. This seemed like a daunting responsibility and as we arrived at Grand Central, my anxiety increased.

Our taxi dropped us at the General Assembly building at the United Nations. A sea of faces representing countless countries greeted us. I never dreamed I would be sitting in a room with such amazing architecture. Following the opening ceremonies, we enjoyed a Turkish dinner and went to our hotel for some much needed rest. Unfortunately, I was too nervous to sleep.

After a restless night, it was time for the actual conference! Upon arrival, things seemed chaotic. The hallways were jammed with hundreds of students speaking different languages.

Initially, the conference room was not much different than the bustling hallway. The noise level was high, but once we all settled down, I began to relax. Each speaker wanted to present his or her argument, which made it difficult to get one’s point across. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak. As I stepped up to the microphone, I noticed all heads in the room turn towards me. I was nervous, but I realized now was the time and finally, I spoke.

I addressed my fellow students and spoke of the importance of eradicating infectious disease in Guatemala. I felt that I had had covered new material and that my teammates and teachers would be pleased. Most importantly, I knew that I was the voice Guatemala so desperately needed. Additionally, this exposure provided a window into what the real United Nations is like and all the important goals it achieves. It amazed me that we had prepared for months, yet the speech lasted only 90 seconds. Looking back on the whole experience, it became clear that I did need to research, discuss and debate as much as I had in order to be the voice Guatemala so desperately needed. Any reservations that I had about the time I had invested disappeared as I left. The moment was truly awesome--I could hardly wait for next year, to come back and do even better!

Sam Miller is a 13 year old student at the Montessori Middle School in Norwalk, CT. He loves music, plays the drums, and his favorite food is mac 'n cheese.

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