HealthScis at the WFUNA International Model UN
This spring, several BHSc (Hons) Program students participated in the World Federation of United Nations Associations International Model UN in Agra, India. Here, 3rd year BHSc Student Jessica Jacob (pictured above, giving her opening address to the Assembly) provides her perspective on the event and what the Model UN movement means to her:
The lobby of the Jaypee Palace Hotel in Agra was bursting with students from all over the world, eager to debate on the most pressing international issues of our time. You could feel the energy in the air as everyone mingled, did some last-minute research, and prepared themselves for the day ahead. This was the atmosphere at the WFUNA International Model UN in Agra, India.
I have been a part of McMaster Model UN since 1st year, and through this organization, I have had the opportunity to attend conferences in locations from Hamilton and Montreal to New York City. At WIMUN India, I was serving as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, which meant that I handled public relations, marketing, social media, and registrations. This position offered me the unique opportunity to travel from committee to committee and see first-hand the passion and excitement in each room. To their credit, the students did not hold back. They openly condemned human rights violations, championed their causes, and relentlessly pursued consensus on their resolutions.
Our McMaster delegation was small but mighty, performing excellently in the University General
Assembly Committee. Mike Coomber, a 2nd-year BHSc student, won a Diplomacy Award for his ability to promote cooperation and pursue consensus while debating on the issue of female empowerment and its relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. He worked with the other delegates to create a resolution that addressed concerning topics like female genital mutilation, gender-based violence, and the lack of equal opportunity for education and employment. Each committee, including the two Security Councils, produced comprehensive documents reflecting their hard-work. Tackling topics from technological development to youth empowerment, these resolutions outlined ways in which the United Nations could work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by the target deadline of 2030.
Apart from the committee sessions, we had the unique opportunity to learn more about the diverse range of cultures represented at the conference through the WIMUN Cultural Night and Delegate Dance. We saw lovely dances, amazing instrumental performances, and a Senior Secretariat waltz featuring yours truly.
The cultural exchange did not simply end in the conference room. One of the most impactful experiences for the delegates was the visit to the Taj Mahal. On our final day, we ventured from our hotel quite early in the morning to avoid the blazing heat. It was completely worth it. The beautiful building was a captivating sight, entrancing the locals and tourists alike. The trip was a fitting end to a wonderful conference.
In my opinion, WIMUN India embodied all the characteristics of a true Model UN conference. The delegates worked tirelessly to produce strong resolutions, they had opportunities to engage with one another to learn and grow as individuals, and they experienced the beautiful Indian culture, gaining an appreciation not only for the country but also its people.
However, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to attend a Model UN conference. In fact, I am proud to say that McMaster University has its very own conference held right here in Hamilton! Much like WIMUN India, MACMUN is committed to providing delegates with a rewarding and eye-opening experience. Designed for beginners and MUN experts alike, MACMUN will host various committees allowing students to step out of their comfort zones, practice their public speaking and team-working skills, and engage with peers from every faculty. While the conference takes place in the Winter term, the McMaster Model UN Club organizes delegations for other prominent conferences held in Canada and the US. All the training, support, and knowledge required is provided through information sessions and experiential learning (in-house debates). McMaster MUN is a great way to meet like-minded individuals, brainstorm solutions to international issues, and gain valuable life-skills.
I cannot emphasize enough the enormous impact that Model UN has made in my life over the past seven years. The thought of delivering a speech in front of 10 people used to frighten me, but in February 2018, I’ll have the chance to address over 1,000 delegates and UN officials at WIMUN New York. Model UN is more than debate – it’s a way to develop new skills, learn more about important social issues, travel the world, and enhance your university experience.