If I had to describe the NMUN experience in one word, I would not be able to do it. It is so much more than a professional experience, that tests your capacities and pushes you to surpass yourself. It is socially enriching, eye-opening, and it is so, much, fun! One thing that will remain about my NMUN 2014 experience, is that we started out as acquaintances, and ended as a family. The « Outstanding delegation » award, is only the peak of the iceberg to this extremely human experience.
Being a part of MUN was something I had never imagined for my year here in Brussels on exchange. MUN has helped me grow as a person and has opened my eyes to careers I hope to pursue. The improvement of my public speaking, confidence level, knowledge of foreign affairs, negotiation skills as well as making friends have been a direct result of being part of the ULB team this year. The conference was an experience I will never forget filled with long days, tough negotiation, and teamwork. As part of the UNICEF committee we worked collaboratively and accomplished things as a committee I couldn’t have dreamed of. Led by three incredible head delegates I was proud to be a part of a delegation who received the highest honor of “outstanding delegation” in New York this year. Coming from a business background I felt that I had a lot of catching up to do when it came to learning about the UN and foreign policy, but it was an exciting challenge every meeting and on to New York. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, and I’ll treasure the places it has taken me (NATO HQ, Seeing President Barack Obama, New York, UN HQ) and the places it has inspired me to go. I hope to not soon forget the electrifying feeling of speaking the words “Honorable Chair, fellow delegates”. I plan on taking my new found passion for MUN back to Canada and continue on my journey there.
The MUN experience simply cannot be described with words. We had been training every Monday night for six months, researching our topics, mocking conferences with other international delegations, meeting with former ULB MUNers… but once in New York City, I realized that there was so much more to it than expected. This year was my first NMUN. And when I finally walked into that room at the Sheraton Hotel on Sunday night, where I was going to spend the following few days acting as a delegate from Norway to the Peacebuilding Commission, I was both excited and anticipating. Indeed, it was not a piece of cake at first to interact and negotiate with other overly-prepared delegates who had participated in NMUN conferences two or three times before. This being said, I was confident that our HDs had trained us effectively. I knew what I had to do and I was determined to do it right. So was the entire ULB MUN team, actually. It took some hard work, passion and dedication; but it was not in vain, because after four intense days in nerd heaven, as Ambassador Samantha Power put it, we received the Outstanding Delegation award. When you finally hear the name of your school called out within the walls of the UN Headquarters, you feel shivers running down your spine and your eyes get watery. But most of all, you feel overwhelmed. You feel proud. You feel thankful. And you feel honored, to be part of a team made up of extraordinary people who have become friends. Only then can one understand what being united means.
This year I had the absolute honour to represent ULB on the Model United Nations team in New York. The experience overall enmeshed life experience with academics, a realm very rarely explored by students. It presented a multitude of opportunities and goals both educational and personal. It defined and made my Erasmus year, engrossing me fully in a multicultural educational background from the get go and furthering it even more so in New York. The hands on training approach by the head delegates are what encouraged us to be diplomats as well as leaders in our field of research whether it was humanitarian assistance, chemical weapons or the issue of child soldiers. I personally gained a global perspective on issues surrounding us all. Standing alone in a General Assembly and managing to be recognised with a personal award for my work and research on my position paper is one of my proudest moments to date. MUN has sincerely changed my life in many ways, allowing me to tackle my most inner fears whilst managing to consolidate current goals and dreams and providing me with new passions. MUN, has become a compelling world in which I have no intention of leaving. I now truly see that you can be the change you wish to see in the world and there are a myriad of opportunities and solutions out there waiting to be discovered, discussed and negotiated upon.