Straight From the Source! Student Views of WACCT’s 2012 Model United Nations

This month, the World Affairs Council hosted its annual Model United Nations at Hartford Public High School. Hundreds of students from across the state converged in our state’s capital city to debate pressing matters affecting the international community. The council received tremendous feedback from the program and we would like to share what some of the participating students had to say about the 2012 Model United Nations!

“Each person walked in with a different expression on his or her face as the other two officers and I greeted them with warm smiles. Some seemed tentative, perhaps showing some signs of nervousness. Others strode in with confident gaits, veterans going about a routine established long ago. Whatever the circumstance each Model UN delegate came from, once seated, each and everyone looked towards the front, at all three officers. The more than two hundred eyes in the room all directed their focus at us, the officers—messengers of the Model UN way. My experience as an officer at the 2012 World Affairs Council of Connecticut Model UN simulation showed me the Model UN process from the “other side,” and in the process, I became better acquainted with what makes this event so special every year. ..I observed the seasoned delegates, through small actions, show the newer students the proper way of amending a resolution, or offering helpful suggestions during un-moderated caucuses. This special interaction really shed a new light for me on the powerful events that transpire at every year’s simulation…” ~Kaitavjeet Chowdhary (Glastonbury High School)

“First of all, I’d like to thank you for running a fantastic conference. It was great to be able to serve as a moderator before I graduate from high school. Here are my thoughts on the conference: As a moderator, I had a unique opportunity to see all delegates at work. I was impressed to see how able and adept students were at adapting to challenging circumstances. Resolutions had already been written, and most delegates were quite well-versed in each of their country’s stance on the topic… Model United Nations brings out the best in young scholars due to its demanding and multidimensional nature. Skills ranging from presentation to communication to research all are required if one is to effectively represent another country and act as a diplomat. It is reassuring to see students develop such profound composure and confidence as Model UN delegates. The success of delegates at the conference surely signaled the emergence of a new bright and talented generation of foreign policy thinkers ready to tackle the international problems of the twenty-first century.”
~Arjun Kapur (Watkinson High School)

“Being an officer for the 2012 WACCT Model UN Conference is one of my favorite experiences of Model UN. It was also one of the most challenging. Friday evening went smoothly. I mostly worked the laptop, though I had little experience with Macs; it wasn’t very hard to manage once I learned how to click. Hannah, Yasmin, and I had this system of operation; one mans the computer, the other directs the debate, and the last acts a page and censors the notes. The delegates were respectful and very interested in the topic. That interest did not waver at all, which, honestly, was novel to me. Usually, after dinner, everyone starts to get a little silly and the officers would have to raise their voices to calm them down. We didn’t need to raise our voices at all…I used to be wary of working with others as a team, especially because I fear that I would have to do everything on my own. I learned in this year’s conference, however, that collaborating with others doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, working as a team, especially with the right people, can be fun. Learning how to work with others is a lifelong skill. Such collaboration can lead to the passing of resolutions for women’s education, the solving of genocides of the elderly population in China, and the passing of sustainable solutions by the United Nations.” ~ Mariah Castillo (Conard High School)

“First and foremost, I thoroughly enjoyed the chair experience. I have spent three years as a delegate, and having seen things from both sides of the dais has brought the Model U.N. program full-circle for me. I have gained further respect for the positions of chair and moderator, and the conference truly solidified my appreciation for the work and planning that goes into a seemingly simple event…. Not a single detail was overlooked in this comprehensive resolution, and I am pleased to note that it did not run into the same problems that keep most good resolutions from being great (such as lack of funding, unrealistic deadlines, etc). After three years of Model UN (starting and ending with this conference), I have come to recognize the real importance of Model United Nations; though fun, exciting, and suspenseful, Model UN is more than a simulation and school field trip: it is a method of instruction for tomorrow’s leaders. Mark my words: in twenty years, students from this simulation will be sitting in the buildings of the United Nations, the White House, and embassies worldwide. All in all, I want to thank the World Affairs Council for the opportunity they provided me. I started as a high school sophomore with little interest in extracurricular activities. I joined Model UN an introvert, a terrible public speaker, and (worst of all) an internationally-apathetic teenager. Three years later, I walked out of the halls of the conference host building with a sense of accomplishment and a wealth of still-growing knowledge. Model UN, in large part, changed me completely for the better. Thank you.” ~Cole von Richthofen (Canton High School)

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