By my senior year of high school, I’d been dancing (jazz, ballet, tap, pointe, modern, lyrical—the whole shebang) since the age of three, I’d been a writer in some capacity (first independently, then as the editor of a school literary magazine) for years, and I had a good year or so of cheerleading and mock trial under my belt. My academic life was going smoothly, and when that got tiresome (when, not if), it seemed that I had a nice amount of extra-curriculars to occupy my time. All-in-all, it was a busy life, but a satisfying one.
Then I came across Model United Nations. My high school had a team that met every week and attended one regional conference. And though I still get the feeling that not many of my teammates were mesmerized as I was by the process of role-playing delegates from around the world at a mock international forum—they were in it for kicks-and-giggles, and it does look good on a resume—there is no doubt that my one and only year of high school Model United Nations turned my career plans around.
Before Model UN, I’d always had an interest in politics and international affairs, but at the most I’d imagined myself a local politician, at the least something else entirely—a writer (I still nurse a dream of becoming a prolific writer, but really, who doesn’t?). But upon discovering Model UN and all it’s wonders—from the technicalities of parliamentary procedure and resolution writing to the sheer energy you feel when “solving” the world’s issues along with (or in spite of) your fellow delegates—I knew that somewhere down the line, I wanted to be in the actual UN.
Well of course, the real UN is still far off, but upon coming to the University of Iowa last fall, I was dead set on joining the Model UN team. Finding the team was a bit difficult (they were not represented at the Student Org Fair) and throughout the semester I learned that low attendance and participation was due to the fact that hardly anyone on campus knew Model UN existed. In spite of that, participation on the team was as fun as I remembered in high school, if a little less driven than I’d hoped.
And thus we come to this year. The Model UN team has only three returning members. Its structure and preparation process—from the constitution to the Officer positions to how we’re researching for the conference—has undergone an overhaul. All summer, the Model UN team has grown from the obscure group of last year to a burgeoning new force on campus. The first meeting, held last Sunday, Sept. 5th, brought in new members eager to represent Lebanon at American Model United Nations in Chicago. And this year, our travels don’t stop in the Windy City. We hope to venture to New York City or D.C., to participate in UN day on campus, to organize our own events, and to hopefully help introduce Model UN and all its benefits to local primary and secondary schools. They’re lofty goals, and perhaps not all will be met this year, but a school like the University of Iowa, with all its international students, events, and awareness, deserves a Model UN team worth its mettle, and that’s what the school’s going to get.