Ma’a salama, Zàijiàn & Hoo Roo!
A farewell note from Melbourne
WorldMUN 2013 has come to an end. And as our nervous expectations and untainted curiosity have turned into invaluable tales of experience, we would like to take a short look back at our journey. Most of all, we want to share it with you – prospective students and friends of MUNAM – and thank our supporters without whom none of this would have been possible.
In July of 2012, fifteen bright students from different walks of life set out on a common journey. Nine months later, we leave Australia as a team, equipped with new interests, skills and friendships. With a new outlook on the challenges of our generation, we share a remarkable experience that is hard to put into words.
During our period of preparation with MUNAM, we wrote position papers, study guides and speeches, tried to contemplate the curious quirks of different cultures and the conditions under which they all hope to thrive and prosper. Through weekly seminars and weekends spent together, we debated the larger ideas and finer points of international cooperation. We trained our cultural and rhetoric sensibilities through intense workshops. We visited Isar Model United Nations and Main Model United Nations to put our determination to the test and learn from others. And finally, we went to Melbourne and participated in the world’s most international and ambitious simulation of the United Nations.
At WorldMUN 2013 we had the distinct honour and pleasure to represent two of the oldest and arguably most fascinating cultures in the world, both of which have been shaken and redefined many times since the founding of the UN. Six of us represented the Arab Republic of Egypt in the committees of the General Assembly, while nine of us represented the People’s Republic of China in the bodies of the Economic and Social Council.
It was a daunting task as we had to deal with some of the most pressing issues facing the international community today. Among them were the multi-faceted challenges of urbanisation and rapid population growth. The systematic discrimination against minorities and how to protect their endangered cultural heritage were debated, as was the exploitation of migrant workers. Discussions on social and cultural issues also included femicide in Latin America and the role of photojournalists in conflicts and development. We reviewed renewable energy incentives and how to deal with the fragile economies of conflict-affected states. And we tackled the future of state sovereignty and security policy by re-evaluating the legitimacy of foreign military bases.
Ultimately, the hard work put into the resolutions passed at WorldMUN 2013 has paid off. Overseen by a liaison officer from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the points and recommendations made by students at this year’s conference were sent to the UN for review and consideration. And so we leave here with a modicum of hope that all of our bold ideas and ambitions will not go unheard.
But what happened inside committee rooms was only half of our WorldMUN experience. The other half was the precious time spent with friends, old and new. From the aboriginal welcome address to the unforgettable farewell in Luna Park (a historic amusement park in St. Kilda), the social events of this year’s conference introduced us to new aspects of Australian culture and to the many cultures of our fellow delegates. The traditional Global Village and Cabaret Night demonstrated yet again, that the truly unique allure of WorldMUN lies in its international scope: almost 2000 students from over 60 countries represented their native home through cultural dress, food, drinks and memorable live performances. It goes without saying that our choice of Lederhosen and Dirndl was a tremendous success and coveted photo opportunity. We soon found ourselves amongst friends from all over the world, rather than just in the company of anonymous delegates. With their creative themes and exciting locations, the social events created by the Melbourne host team were an important part of WorldMUN 2013 and – instead of distracting from it – they only served to improve cooperation on substantive matters of the conference.
We are very proud to have been a part of this year’s WorldMUN and extend our gratitude to those who made it possible: our friends back home, at Harvard, in Melbourne and the world over. Although it was a journey to the end of the world, WorldMUN 2013 does not mark the end of our journey. We leave here with new ideas, new tools and perhaps even a new trajectory in life. The greatest challenges still lie ahead. And the moment we leave here, a new journey awaits each of us. We may not know where it will take us, but at least we know a little bit more about how to get there.
Hoo Roo, WorldMUN! Ma’a salama and Zàijiàn!
written by Markus D.