By Anais Carmona, SFS ’14
Readers, feel free to listen to this while you read about our experience.
On the 16th of March, 8 Georgetown students embarked on a trip into the “Land Down Under” to represent Georgetown University at the World MUN Melbourne 2013 competition. World MUN is five-day conference hosted overseas by Harvard that brings together the greatest assortment of college students from around the globe to engage in cultural exchange, diplomacy, and cooperation.
After countless hours of flights halfway across the world, Battleship challenges, and months of committee preparation, our team of Hoyas landed in Melbourne, Australia. We quickly became excited about the prospect of seeing a koala or a kangaroo, avoiding vegemite, and witnessing the beauty of Australia. We were there for more than a conference, or an award, we were there to witness the power of dialogue, cooperation, and friendship in a way that we had not experienced before.
Opening Ceremonies was what first opened the eyes of our Hoyas to a new culture. It wasn’t until then that our team became acquainted with the “World MUN Spirit” which is described as, “The spirit of friendship and cooperation across borders that creates a deeper understanding of cultures and perspectives beyond our own.” The ceremonies included every delegation in attendance, each with their flags, traditional dress, and excitement that could not be subdued even by the heaviest effects of jetlag. The peak of opening ceremonies was the cultural dance and music provided by the Wurundjeri, which the entire audience found to be a unique and exciting touch to the ceremony.
For that week, Georgetown was given a voice in the international arena. Over the span of 5 days and more than 20 hours, we were given a space to articulate our views on international issues, to develop networks spanning borders, and make friends from Belgium, Germany, Singapore, Colombia, Venezuela, and 60 other countries. Georgetown competed in four different committees:
- United Nations Security Council (Anais Carmona & Nicholas Walker)
- DISEC (Dane Shikman & Neil Christy)
- SPECPOL (Theresa Lou & Aditya Salgame)
- SOCHUM (Nick Bellomy & Jeffrey Caso)
Each double delegation tackled topics ranging from endangered languages to the status of foreign military bases, and the Syrian conflict. If you ask any of the 8 Hoyas that attended they will tell you that they were impressed by the preparation of other delegates, the rhythm of international competition, and the ability of delegations to come together, write, and pass (or veto) resolutions to better the conditions of issues that affect nations across the world.
The activities outside of committee, such as Global Village, where each country’s delegation brought food, drink, songs, and traditions from their homeland, truly gave our Hoyas an opportunity to engage in conversations and bond with students from across the world. One particular conversation worth noting was talking to the Venezuelans about how they felt about the death of Chavez—that, in conjunction with the overall caliber of debate, was when I realized the opportunity we had been given was a privilege.
Aussie Aussie Aussie! OY OY OY.