This is a guest post written by Kali Croke, a delegate at the Best Delegate Summer Programs at UC Berkeley
As best delegates we become experts at profusely scouring the Internet to learn about what life is like in a world outside of our own. We’re taught what websites to navigate to find what information we are looking for. But nothing I have read on the Internet has ever taught me more about the world than the stories I was told by all of the amazing people I met. My experience at Best Delegate in Berkeley was nothing short of cultural enlightenment. While we became conscious of global issues and attempted to intuitively resolve them, we recognized that taking on a multitude of foreign perspectives in a simulated United Nations wasn’t our only connection to the world outside or respective lives. We learned about international relations while simultaneously fostering international relationships of our own. While I am so thankful for the wonderful mentors that strengthened my passion for Model UN, I am forever inspired by the incomparable friendships and connections I have around the world.
When we first arrived the only thing any of us shared was a passion for Model UN and a desire to grow not to be a better delegate, but a best delegate. Each day was a learning experience; not just regarding Model UN, but also personally. Despite having the capacity and drive to analyze and resolve global issues like water scarcity and child soldiers (not to mention, each impressively under six hours,) we all found immeasurable pleasure in the company of friends no more than a few days new. The uncomplicated moments like playing with a deck of cards beneath the dorms, walking (and occasionally running) to class, and fabricating unnaturally large bubbles in the city were testaments to how wonderful a simple instance could be with certain people. Moreover, it was a testament to how strange it is to feel close with friends who were strangers no less than a few days before. In our committee simulations we would take on different personas, form alliances; possibly pull a few power delegate moves. But after all preambulatory and operative clauses were written, and after motions and points ceased to be brought the floor, we were left with the stories of the lives of unforgettable friendships from around the world.
One thing I can say about my summer at Best Delegate was that it was frankly not long enough. The week in Berkeley was nothing short of unforgettable and culturally enlightening. Best Delegate helped me realize how influential Model UN is in my life, even though I’ve only been at it for a short time. I was taught not only how to be a better delegate during Model UN conferences, but also how to be a better leader throughout my life, which is an imperative characteristic to have currently and in the future. Every expectation I had for the camp was almost immediately surpassed within a few seconds of pulling my too-heavy suitcase into my dorm, and the rest of the week did not fail to withstand that expectation. To all of the fantastic staff and my friends across the country and globe: thank you for teaching me so much about the world, Model UN, and myself.