Some may say that our adventure really began when we boarded the plane.
Others might point out that it was during the Conference’s Opening Ceremony.
But we believe the trip was the very completion of what had dawned six months earlier.
After two days of sightseeing and tasting good food, we were thrilled to attend the Opening Ceremony of the NMUN Conference. We had the honor to listen to the surprise guest, Ms. Samantha Power herself. The United States of America’s Ambassador to the United Nations’ speech was everything we needed at that moment: empowering, uplifting, inspirational and filled with positivity, humor and clever advice. We were excited to be introduced to such a heartening, talented and down-to-earth person. ‘Nerd Heaven‘,according to her own words, was indeed the place to be.
After having received such encouragement, the gavel was banged and our excitement tripled as the Conference had officially begun!
We quickly hurried to our committee rooms located in the Sheraton and in the Hilton of the bustling Times Square. The energy was palpable as every delegate was eager to begin negotiations.
After that first taste of diplomacy on Sunday evening, the delegation headed to the Mission of Norway to the United Nations the very next morning. The person who welcomed us was no less than Mr. Bekken, a diplomat who kindly briefed the team with Norway’s point of view on various subjects. He also encouraged us by sharing his past experience as a MUNer!
Meanwhile, the three Head Delegates were briefed with different information. The three of them had indeed been selected overnight as Chairs and Rapporteurs of committees! Commonly known as Chapps, the HDs would from then on participate in the Conference from the other side of the committee table. As Chairs, they would manage the smooth roll-out of the sessions and remind the delegates of the rules of procedure. As Rapporteurs, they would perform administrative tasks and help the Director in their work. Needless to say that working hand in hand with the NMUN staff was a once in a lifetime opportunity!
The three next simulation days and evenings were intense as we were immerged in the world of busy diplomacy. The delegates would work additional hours during the night in order to produce papers of quality that represent Norway’s views on various topics as well as seal relationships with allies. Every night the whole team gathered in order to debrief with our Faculty Advisors on what had happened in each committee. We would then share laughs, worries, and experiences. We believe that these were the golden moments in which the bonds between delegates strengthened.
The last NMUN day, Thursday April 3, was right around the corner and arrived faster than expected. The team headed out, on a sunny New York day, to the United Nations Headquarters. It was a very emotional moment to be seated on the rows in which UN Diplomats would attend General Assembly’s sessions.
We had the pleasure to once again listen to uplifting speeches. Each speech expressed a different idea to which we firmly adhere. Even through the tiredness and exhaustion, we were wide awake to fully be present during these last NMUN moments.
The award roll-call had then begun and the team began to fidget. Would it be possible that the ULB MUN could earn the Outstanding Delegation prize two years in a row? As delegations having earned Distinguished Delegation and Honorable Delegation would stand up from their seats, we were nervous to the idea of not being called at all. When the NMUN organizers have moved on to the ‘Outstanding’ mentions, we waited eagerly to hear the name of our country being pronounced. At last, we heard Norway in the list of the best delegations of the NMUN 2014 Conference. Straightening up and beaming, we could not hold back our emotion, our smiles, and our tears of joy. Even though the prize is not what we were after, it shows that the very organizers of NMUN have recognized our hard work, our commitment, our diplomacy and our talent. As David Frost put it, ‘Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.’
After all these challenges, we bonded as a team and as close friends.
We cannot find words to express our gratitude to have been able to live this experience. Pushing our limits on a professional level, working hard, learning how to debate and represent a country, working as a team and in partnership, bonding as friends, we now truly value what it means to be a MUNer. We started as a group, worked as a team and ended up as a family.
And that’s what MUN is all about.
We are very grateful for all the support and love we have received since the beginning of our venture!
… And here are bonus pictures!