I recently attended a Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana and I had one of the greatest experiences of my life there. While I was only there for two days I learned and experienced so much and I had an incredible amount of fun. The point of this trip was to simulate what happens at a real United Nations Conference. The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that was established to promote international cooperation. At the real UN conference there are representatives of each nation and, in a formal manner, they discuss any world issues, and come up with solutions to handle these problems. That's what we did on this trip, but not an international scale. There were different schools that were given a country to represent, a lot of the countries that are part of the UN had a delegate there, like the United States, Russia, China, Britain, Japan, Sudan, Egypt, North Korea, and many other countries. Our School was given Sudan to represent at this conference, along with our county we were given the topics that were going to be discussed at conference. These topics were all current issues, like how to combat Ebola, the Syria and Iraq crisis, the Threat of ISIS, and many other current issues. My topic was the ban on Chemical and biological weapons. So I had to do some research on these weapons and how they affect Sudan. After an extensive amount of research, I had to write a paper on Sudan's take on these problems and come up with a few solutions. All of this happened weeks before the actual trip so we had time to prepare so we could get the most out of this experience.
We left for Indianapolis early in the morning so we had plenty of time to check into our hotel and explore the city a little. Once we got there we had three hours to eat lunch, get our hotel rooms and get change for the conference that started at 5:00 pm. All dressed up professionally, we went to where the local college where the event was held. It started off really well, we were one of the first groups to get there and we went to an auditorium and waited for the opening session to begin. When the other schools started to show up, it started to hit me on how big of a deal this is. There were around 300 students there in total and it was one of the most diverse group of people I had ever seen. After I had stopped admiring the atmosphere that I was in, I started to take things more seriously since the conference was starting. There was a short introduction for the Model UN conference, and then everyone split into small groups according to whatever topic you were assigned. I left with my group, which was 45 students, and we entered a room that had tables with countries names on it. We were told to find our seats, I was sitting in the front row and the country next to me was North Korea. I can't even describe how entertaining it was to sit next to them. Their delegation was enjoyable to watch at this conference. You’re supposed to act as if you were a person from your specific country and really take on the characteristic of the person from that county. It was so amazing to see how dedicated the people of North Korea were. They really made it apparent that they were North Korea in their speeches, and it really made them stand out.
After the seating arrangements were taking care of we officially started the conference. Our goal in the Conference is to pass a resolution paper that outlines our problem and effectively take care of the problem. This of course sounds easy, however that couldn't be any further from the truth. It's no easy task come up with a solution that has to appease the different nations of the world. It started out with our chairman (the person who was leading the topic in our room) giving a crash course to all the delegates on the proper procedures on how the conference will be conducted. Then it moved to each county getting up and talking to the whole delegation about their take on the situation and how it has affected their county. I went early deciding it was better to get it over with. While I was waiting for my turn I heard the delegates from the other nation’s speech and they had some profound things to say about how weapons of mass destruction have affect their country in the past and how they plan to solve this problem. When it was finally my turn I decided to make my point short and sweet, although I was extremely nervous to get up there and speech in front of people I didn't know, I was well enough prepared to get me through it. So quickly talked about Sudan's past with chemical weapons, like how the U.S launch a missile a Sudan because they thought a factory was making them, and how some terrorist groups used to smuggle them through the country. I then concluded that all weapons of mass destruction should be destroyed. I then took my seat and waited for the next speaker to start. This continued until on delegate motioned that we move on and start the caucus. Our chair, finding the motion favorable decided to move on and start the causes. A caucus is when the delegates talk among themselves in order to exchange information. There are two types, the formal caucus where the delegates stay in their seats and they have to raise their plaques if they wished to speak, then there’s the informal caucus where the delegates are allowed to leave their seats and talk among the other delegates. For the next three hours that's what happened, we move to the formal caucus to find out where the countries stand on the matter and what they were doing, and we used the informal caucus to talk and work on our solutions. These switched back and forth until it was time to conclude our first day.
Over the course of the first day we had accomplished about a quarter of the work that needed to get done. This was because there were huge debates between delegates about how to solve our topic problem. It mostly came down to two groups, one was run by the delegate from Iran, and the other was the United States delegate. They disagreed with each other about how the solve the problem, so this led to some counter-productive work and we spend a lot of time not getting any work done. It was however very interesting to go and hear their arguments, and be able to how they were able to draw other people in and persuade them into their thinking. While the main two were debating against each other, the rest of the delegates were trying to figure out which side their nation could most benefit from. While everyone was doing this I was talking to the other delegates to see how they were doing and what they could do to help my county. This was going in a non-ending cycle until Iran finally won out and convinced everyone that his way was right. So for the next hour everyone was working to complete their resolution papers that needed to be complete tomorrow. For a paper to be considered finished it needed Five county co-signs saying they worked on it, and fifteen sub signatures from other countries saying they are willing to discuss the paper. Then the paper needed to be sent to the chairman on his flash drive so he could project it on the wall so the contents of the paper could be debated whether or not it should be passed or not. We ran out of time and we didn't get to start discussing the first of the five papers that we needed. After the conference I met up with the rest of the members from my school and we all went out to eat. Once we got something to eat we went back to the hotel and discussed the events that happened that day. Since we had to get up, get dressed, and pack all of our stuff by 8:15 in the morning I went to bed early.
The Second day of the conference went a little smoother than the first day. We immediately went back to our rooms and picked up where we left off at. We had to continue to work until the papers were ready to be discussed and reviewed by everyone. After a while, someone made the motion to start looking over the papers that were already finished, the chairman found this favorable and decide to start the voting process whether or not the paper was to be made enforceable. First the five countries that worked on the paper had to go and explain how it works and what their plan is. Then for the next five minutes anyone could ask questions about their paper or raise points that could show the flaws in the resolutions plan. Then there had to be two speakers that were for the paper to be put into effect and two others that were against it. Both sides tried to convince us to agree with their thinking because the solution paper had to be put to a vote to know whether or not it would be put into effect. All countries had to vote and whichever side had the majority was the winner. For the first three papers they all had the majority with a least 25 votes so they were able to be passed. After the third resolution we weren't able to pass anymore papers after that. The nations keep disagreeing with each other and they thought the papers didn't give them what they needed so they keep rejecting them. We weren't able to come to a compromise and so almost nothing else was able to get done. Then sadly the day was over, it ended with us passing three out of the required five resolution papers.
After my conference came to a close I went and looked for my other school members so we could go to the award ceremony. While on the way I came across some of the delegates that were in my conference room and we started to reflect on what went wrong and talked about what we can do next time. The other students were really friendly and I hope I can see them at the next conference. Then at the award ceremony the lead chairman gave a nice speech about the overall turn out of the event and how this was one of the best conferences he has ever seen. Then he moved on to passing out rewards for the best delegates there. A lot of the prizes went to the people outside my group. Then at the very end they choose the best nation at the entire conference and the winner was Greece. They performed the best and they went all got small trophies that were engraved.
This was one of the best trips I've been on this year. Although I didn't win the prize I was able to learn, and have so much fun in just a little over 24 hours. If given the chance I'll definitely go back. This was one experience that I feel I could relive over and over again and never get tired of it. I'm so thankful to everyone that made this trip possible and I promise while I was there I was a great representation of my city, my school, and myself.
Submitted by Justice Shoals (ABLE ’15)