When I was nine or ten, I watched Blossom the Powerpuff Girl join her school’s Model United Nations club on Cartoon Network. I didn’t really get it, but it was Blossom, so I just assumed that it was some ridiculously boring, convoluted, and tedious activity that only the brainiest of brains could ever hope to understand or participate in.
For years, I denied its existence in the real world and thought that everyone who “did” MUN just pretended that they actually understood what went on in those—conferences? clubs? I didn’t know. What did participants discuss as they pretended to represent countries my atlas and I had never heard of? What was the end goal of one of these? What did the real United Nations even do?
What human students would—or could—engage in such a sport?
Then I grew up and learned that they do, in fact, exist. I attended my first MUN conference online in 2022. Some of my fellow delegates were as borderline supernatural as I’d imagined—sharp and critical; eloquent and graceful; intelligent, passionate, practiced—but many more of them were just as human as I, stuttering through their speeches, struggling with semantics, and stumbling through the structure.
I found it profound that regardless of technical skill, what every delegate in attendance had in common was courage. That fact that none held the ideas they thought important back because of some bureaucratic barrier or because they were afraid to be judged for their mistakes demonstrated to me the true appeal of the activity: in its essence, it is not a model of an ambiguous international organization but of a fearless, noble, and compassionate diplomacy that changemakers strive to embody.
My first conference was an extensive exploration of the rationale. My second was a crash course in the method.
I admit that I was poorly prepared and realize that it was entirely my fault. I did not put in as much effort as I know I could have because I thought I could figure things out as I went. The conference was in person, and the delegates I debated with were infinitely better read on our topics and quicker on their feet than I was. They wrote sound sermons in seconds and conversed concisely, deftly fitting monologues into mere minutes.
I could hardly comprehend the discussion, much less participate in or contribute to it. I amended what I had learned at my first conference: courage is a part, not a whole. To effect true change, one must prepare much more than one acts.
I used to believe that I could think things into and out of existence. I pretended that everything that I did not like was not real and that everything I did like I could make real by sheer force of will. I suppose that may have been true at some point when I was a very small child, immovably comfortable in my parents’ protective bubble, but that is something I no longer am and never will be again. Model UN is very much a place for Blossoming (you know, the way Neville Longbottomed). My first two MUN conferences taught me the art and importance of effecting real change myself. I wonder what I will learn next.
Article by Eve B. (G11)
Feature Image by Marianne G. (G12)
The views expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.