Best Delegate has done a lot of traveling over the past couple of months. Right now we’re finishing up with workshops in Qatar and India! Beyond ourselves, the Model UN community is kicking into high gear throughout the world. And with another Model UN season brings new delegates and opportunities. I wanted to take a step back from the present to reflect on my recent visit to Honduras.
Erik Leiden and I visited the Escuela Internacional Sampedrana (EIS) in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to host a Model UN Workshop for the EIS Model UN and Model OAS teams, Escuela International La Lima, and the American School of Tegucigalpa. This was Erik’s second, my first, and Best Delegate’s fifth year working with school. The school continues to reach for success in its continually growing Model UN program and the number of delegation awards it received this past year. Along with receiving the Honor of being one of the Best International Delegations competing at North American conferences and winning numerous individual and delegation awards in Sao Paolo, Brazil, San Jose, Costa Rica, and in New York to name just a few places.
Last year Erik reflected on his first year teaching at EIS. He wrote about the club’s local Model UN community, keys to training its members, and the strong support from its parents and administration.
During my first encounter with meeting some of the parents and students was noticing how much Best Delegate was a part of their club’s culture. From the parents, students, teachers, and the administration, the EIS community was dedicated not just to Model UN but in trying to encapsulate our motto: “the best delegate brings out the best in other delegates.”
Some of this was highlighted by the Junior and Senior leaders in the high school who would help train new members. Those members could begin learning about Model UN starting in 6th grade! The student leaders even took time out of their weekend to help out with Best Delegate’s workshop. In fact there were some students that had been in Best Delegate workshops for their entire Middle School and High School careers. There’s no wonder that there were over 140 students that participated in the Novice, Advanced, and Advisor programs we taught between September 22nd and the 24th. The program continues to grow every year.
After returning from San Pedro Sula I kept revisiting this quote: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
This might sound strange because most Model UN participants tend to be from youth. However, there’s an ebb and flow to Model UN clubs of every size and at every level. Clubs are growing, shrinking, and popping up in new places all the time. As a constantly growing activity, new clubs and conferences can make an impact on individuals, local communities, and Model UN as a whole. It’s difficult to picture all of the students who will be inspired through our Model UN programs because we haven’t even met the next generation of MUNers. EIS Was not an overnight success either, it has grown, and continues to grow, through dedication and patience.
EIS – and clubs just like it – represent a great model (pun intended) for what Model UN programs can strive to become in the longterm through a balance of student leadership, passionate teachers, and dedicated parents and administrators. Patience and dedication are not the easiest skills to develop, but education through Model UN is like planting trees whose shade, we as active participants, may never have a chance to sit in.
Thank you Juan Santamaria, Samantha Burbidge, and the entire EIS MUN program for another great experience in Honduras!