BLOG: Diary of a Delegate

All semester long, a group of 12 CMU students, including myself, have been researching and studying the culture and policies of Israel in preparation for the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City. Universities around the world have also been studying their designated country in order to simulate the on-goings of the United Nations during the week of April 19-23. There were approximately 2,500 international students present.

April 18, 2011
Day 1: Today, we arrived in NYC and headed to our hotel where the conference is being held, which is conveniently located in the center of Times Square. After I put my bags upstairs I decided to explore for a little while. There were so many different smells, sounds, billboards, and people in Times Square that I felt like a child in a candy shop constantly staring at everything, and barely avoiding being run over by taxis. You can tell who is a tourist and who isn’t because the tourists are constantly running around and snapping pictures with their thumbs up by every billboard; I may or may not have been that person.

April 19, 2011
Day 2: As the conference began, everyone was delighted to see that our keynote speaker for opening ceremonies was the NBA player, Dikembe Mutumbo. After opening ceremonies we split up into our committees, mine being General Assembly 3rd committee. Our committee focused on three subjects: I) Human rights, cultural integrity, and diversity, II) Promoting alternative strategies to combat the world drug trade, and III) Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. Since we didn’t have much time the first night of sessions, the only thing we got to was voting on which topic deserved priority. Luckily, we got our way and topic II was voted as highest priority.

April 20, 2011
Day 3: Since we barely had time to do anything yesterday because it was a short session, today was the first day we really got to interact with other delegates. Much of the time spent in session is actually caucusing, which means that you go talk to other delegates and try to work on making a resolution to solve the said problem; in our case, it was combating the world drug trade. Speaking with other delegates was incredibly interesting because something like 70% of the schools at the conference were international. Many of the people I met were from Germany and Italy, but I also met people from Egypt, Belgium, Japan, and France. Today I talked to a girl who was from Cairo and was actively involved in the Egyptian revolution. As someone who followed that event daily, I was so excited to hear about it from someone who experienced it firsthand.  It’s one thing to read or hear about a revolution in the news, but it is quite another to listen to someone’s personal testimony.
April 21, 2011
Day 4: Today was the longest day, ever. We began sessions at 8:30 a.m. and went until 10:30 p.m. We covered a lot of ground today though. Over the past few days, everyone has formed coalitions and begun drafting resolutions to address the world drug trade. We spent hours upon hours discussing what to put in ours and finally, we have a draft. It has been interesting representing Israel here because, in case you were unaware, the vast majority of countries in the world are not exactly Israel’s biggest fans; however, people have managed to be nice. Today I also gave a speech to the 3rd committee, which consists of about 200 people, and it was a rather nerve-racking experience. The good news is I didn’t pass out: it looks as though my speaking skills are improving.
April 22, 2011
Day 5: It was our last day being in committee today. All we had to do was focus on editing and revising our final draft resolutions and then vote on all of them. By the time we began voting it was almost time for the session to be over, but we had to finish before the session could be adjourned. An hour past the time we were supposed to get done, we finally voted on the last resolution. Out of the 11 resolutions that were voted on, nine passed. I think that was mostly because people were extremely exhausted and tired of putting up a fight. After four days of caucusing and being diplomatic, I needed a drink. Or five.
April 23, 2011
Day 6: One of the highlights of the trip was being able to hold closing ceremonies at the actual United Nations building. It was so gratifying to know that I was standing where diplomats from around the world had stood while listening to countless influential people speak. Prior to adjourning the entire conference, the director of NMUN announced the delegation awards for the year which had been voted on by everyone who attended. To our excited surprise, the delegation of Israel, i.e. CMU, was awarded an honorable mention. This was the first time CMU had received an award since they began attending NMUN and it was a huge accomplishment for our school. I felt very proud to have been a part of that. Once the ceremonies were done, it was time to get ready for the night. It was the “delegate dance” which was really not as dorky as it sounds. Imagine something a lot less like a high school prom and much more like a frat party. Except in a hotel. And it involved 2,500 international college students; I think you get the picture. Needless to say, it was a night to be remembered, though I’m guessing most did not.