As the globe continues to grow smaller, understanding how the world works is growing more and more important. Before the development of the globalization and the invention of the internet, it was easy to live life as a citizen of one country, almost unaffected by happenings around the world. Today, with the development of a global economy and international news on the front page of every newspaper, it is becoming more important that we are able to relate with our counterparts from lands that were once far away.
The Model United Nations program helps to break down those barriers by putting you into the shoes of an international diplomat. When you begin to prepare for a Model UN conference, you will assume the role of an international negotiator, potentially even from a country you have never heard of. You will receive a topic brief that will outline an important issue, and which will provide the foundation for your own research. First, you may try to learn a little about the economy of the country you will represent. Or, you may look specifically for what your country has already done in response to this issue. Maybe you will contact your committee director for guidance on how to begin your research. Maybe you will even call the embassy or UN Mission of your country to get some first-hand information on how you should react. Regardless of how you begin to prepare, you will begin to develop an idea of how this society functions, and the things that its deems important.
When you arrive at the conference, you will be surrounded by your counterparts from high schools across the United States and around the world. They all will have done similar preparatory research as you, and you will start to talk about the issues and work together to develop innovative solutions. To tackle debt, maybe you will agree to forgive some of the loans your country has given to poor countries. To protect human rights, you and your peers my reinforce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and develop enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the world's most vulnerable people are protected. To try to maintain international peace and security, maybe you will even support preemptive military action against a rogue state.
By the end of the weekend, you will have met scores of new friends, many of whom you will keep in touch. You will have shared what it's like living in Pennsylvania or Boston, or even places like Ireland and Japan. Your world will have grown smaller as you have learned to understand how things are outside of your typical environment. And along the way, you will have learned important life skills like public speaking, collaboration, negotiation, and even conflict resolution. You will be a step ahead of your peers, as you will already have figured out ways to use these skills - all the while, making your world smaller, your perspective broader, and your ideas even better than they were before!