As serene and pastoral Western Massachusetts can be, it can be a relief to escape the green in exchange for the grey edifices of a metropolis. Although spring break is just around the corner, I was more than happy to have my own little—early—hiatus. I have been planning to staff the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference, run by the International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA) for almost a year. I first attended the conference when I was in high school, once as a delegate in the Disarmament and International Security committee, and another, as a delegate in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. I loved the conference, as it was different from most of the ones I attended throughout high school. With the conference being in New York City, I enjoyed the opportunity to leave school to spend time in the Big Apple—and also with my brother. Instead of a cutthroat competition, in which delegates would do anything in their will to run everyone else in committee down, this conference focuses on education, collaboration and global service.
Last year I played a completely different role in staffing the conference. There are two staff main components of the conference—administrative and substantive. I worked administrative my freshman year, meaning that I helped support the office and documentation needs of the conference—typing resolutions, copying papers, supporting senior staff members. This year, as a staff member on the substantive side, I chaired the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian committee where the high school delegates debated LGBT Rights in the Developing World, a topic that is very important and special to me. While the level of debate was not quite what I had hoped, it was still a great opportunity to see high schoolers debate outside of their comfort zones. I had two wonderful assistant chairs that helped me run committee, one who attends Dartmouth and another who attends UVA. While they helped me hold down the fort in committee, I went around helping delegates with the content of their resolutions, which was incredibly gratifying, as I saw how I impacted and educated the delegates. We are lucky enough to hold the last day of the conference at the actual United Nations headquarters. I remember sitting in the actual seats of the country I represented in high school, and speaking in the microphone at the seat, while listening to my voice boom throughout the massive General Assembly Hall.
My fellow staffers at the conference are the best part. Coming from diverse backgrounds (for example, from Italy, Colombia, Venezuela, and all over the US), we all come together with the same purpose of working our hardest to put on the most incredible conference we can. Like last year, the conference lifted my spirits and has reenergized me for the rest of the school year. Ironically, I did not get much sleep last week. Granted, this week will be incredibly tough while I attempt to play catch-up, however I am SO glad that next week is spring break, so I’ll have an opportunity to catch up, and perhaps even get ahead with my work.
At the United Nations General Assembly Hall with my organ (fancy name for suborganization).