2011 was about figuring out how we can make a difference in Model UN and in the lives of others. We’re still in startup mode and that comes with a lot of struggles and setbacks, but I think the good feeling we get from our work validates what we are doing. We’re making a small difference in the lives of students and teachers around the world in our own little way. It feels great to be creating something useful, empowering future leaders, and giving back to an activity that has meant so much to us.
We think the journey is worth it, and we’re appreciative of having so many supporters contribute to our personal highlights from this past year working on Best Delegate. Those who follow my lifestyle design blog know that I like to reflect using the theme of “15 Personal Lessons,” so playing off that, here our both Ryan and my 15 Personal Highlights from 2011:
Highlights from our accomplishments:
1. We launched our first book, How to Win Awards in Model United Nations. It took a total of five months of brainstorming, framing, writing, editing, and designing, but all of our favorite strategies are there. As a bonus, the book sold well!
3. The rankings go viral: we originally made the college and high school rankings as almost of an afterthought since we had a lot of awards data and just wanted to compile it into several articles, and we didn’t expect it to go viral. Once it did though, the article even got tweeted by Diego Arria, the former Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations!
4. Consulting & Coaching. We launched our consulting & coaching services lineup and had successful experiences in private coaching, group workshops, and even consulting for educational organizations.
5. Doing business with the Chinese: doing business with the Chinese was one of the most eye-opening experiences for us. We learned a lot about the challenges of international business.
Highlights from conference experiences:
6. Both of us captured a memorable moment from closing ceremonies. Ryan got the video of the Yale team declaring themselves as America’s Best Model UN Team after winning Best Large at HNMUN, and I got the video of the most emotional closing ceremonies ever at MUNUC.
7. Seeing 4th graders do Model UN. It’s adorable watching 4th graders talk about taxes and also very inspirational to know that young kids can be engaged to start changing the world through Model UN.
8. Learning about the different circuits: We learned a lot about the Model UN community beyond what we knew as delegates and staffers. Several circuit divisions include NMUN vs. World Division in the college circuit and American MUN vs. THIMUN-style MUN outside of North America.
9. Exploring MUN abroad. Model UN is global and done differently around the world (e.g. THIMUN). It’s also growing rapidly with innovations (e.g. WEMUN satellite conferences).
10. WPSC. West Point’s inaugural conference set the standard on how Model UN could be organized. This was perhaps the most professional conference ever run.
Highlights from fan appreciation:
11. Both of us received roses during CMUNCE. We felt like the delegates and the staff really appreciated us being there and the roses really made our day.
12. Gavel-winner says “thank you.” A student from a NYC public school introduced himself to Ryan at the beginning of the WAMUNC conference saying he’s a fan of Best Delegate. He ends up winning the gavel at closing ceremonies and on his way back from collecting his award, he looks at Ryan and says “thank you.” We love it when we know we helped make a difference for a delegate.
13. Conferences that get us. Liveblogging is expensive and oftentimes lonely. We really appreciate when a conference understands what we’re trying to accomplish, helps us make the most out of our trip, assists with logistics and introductions, and make us feel like we’re part of their staff. It makes a big difference in our experience on the road. Shout outs to our strongest conference supporters from this past year: McGill (McMUN/SSUNS), Columbia (CMUNCE/CMUNNY), FCMUN, WAMUNC, SHUMUN, NHSMUN, BruinMUN, UPMUNC, NCSC, WPSC, SOCOMUN, JPSMUN, CCCMUN, and the Yale travel team (MUNTY).
14. Sharing our expertise at summits & workshops. Our expertise is really sharing best practices in Model UN, and we have a lot of fun when we can teach others what the best around the world are doing in the in-conference summits and workshops like the ones we did at McMUN, NCSC, NHSMUN, SSUNS, NCSC, and SOCOMUN. The NHSMUN speaker lineup also included the World Bank and Kiva — we’re not there yet but it’s awesome to be listed next to them.
15. Support from our biggest fans. The best reward for us is meeting students and teachers who love Model UN and thank us for our work. We also feel grateful for all the support we get from Model UN alumni, friends, and our parents.
What were your personal Model UN highlights for 2011?