Local high-school and college Model United Nations teams were invited by UNA-USA volunteers to attend the celebration of UN Day in New Jersey. The commemoration was held in the Senate Chamber of the NJ State House, and delegates attending were able to hear remarks by some excellent and experienced speakers. Additionally, high-school students were invited to participate in the symbolic reading of the charter, and a few students from each delegation were able to attend a formal luncheon, where representatives answered questions for students in greater detail. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South & West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North Model UN teams were invited to attend this event, and found the experience inspiring and rewarding.
SouthMUN: We’re incredibly grateful to UNA-USA chapter President John Vincent for arranging for high school teams to attend the celebration. Speakers included Robert Finn, the ambassador who re-opened the American Embassy in Afghanistan after the Soviets left, Maged Abdelaziz, the Secretary-General’s current Special Advisor for Africa, and Representative Rush Holt. Not only was it an opportunity to hear some highly experienced speakers, but it was also incredible to hear how highly they spoke of MUN. The way these speakers described MUN, as an activity of real importance and educational significance, only added to the value of the activity in our minds. Overall, we’re grateful that these volunteers were able to arrange such a new opportunity for MUN teams, and we hope that the State and UNA-USA will continue to host MUNers in their commemoration.
NorthMUN: Getting the chance to meet with ambassadors, under secretaries, congressmen, and senators, all that with delicious Italian cuisine, was truly a worthwhile experience. Listening to the wisdom that these men had gained throughout their many years of service inspired many aspiring diplomats sitting in the chamber. Followed by an open question and answer session, students applied what they learned through their work as Model UN delegates, asking insightful questions to many of the speakers regarding the role of the United Nations. “One of the most rewarding experiences for me during the event was being able to ask a question to the former Ambassador to Afghanistan during the question and answer session because I was able to get a first hand response of how ambassadors handle real conflicts involving genocide and terrorism.” says Gopal Velagala after he asked a question directly to the former US ambassador to Afghanistan. Speaking for all the WWP North seniors who attended, this was one of the most memorable events of their Model UN careers. After four years of simulating the United Nations, the opportunity to meet with esteemed diplomats and senators put a real world context to their endeavors as students.
Speaking to real representatives of the United Nations puts all of the concepts and global issues discussed in UN simulations into perspective, and the UN day celebration in New Jersey is an experience every Model UN participant should experience to understand the jobs and responsibilities that some individuals have in respect to international affairs and politics.
Pictures from the event:
Special thanks to Arnav Sood for initiating this article and providing the perspective from SouthMUN.