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May 23, 2019

by Rachele Podda '16

One St. Stephen's student explores international mindedness through her participation in a diplomatic association that promotes greater cultural awareness and instills a sense of responsibility in today's youth towards global issues affecting society.

Model United Nations (M.U.N.) is an extraordinary experi­ence. It allows students to vividly simulate diplomatic meet­ings that take place in worldwide organizations such as the United Nations.

M.U.N. represents a unique and life-changing project that enables you to become acquainted with the inspiring art of diplomacy. Firstly, it teaches you the singular qualities of lead­ ership; secondly, it allows you to gain confidence and to de­ velop public speaking skills. Furthermore, students have the singular opportunity to explore  many  different  cultures  and to exchange diverse perspectives on various topics, throughout intensive and interesting debates.

Every student is assigned a country to represent and has to carry out thorough research in order to contribute stimulat­ ing and realistic ideas to the conference. Hence, during the simulation sessions, students become the ambassadors of their countries, the voices of the populations they are representing and fighting for.

During my high school education I have participated in four international simulations, which took place at the United Na­ tions' headquarters in New York and which were organized by the Associazione Diplomatici. Each of them has noursihed my heart with deep emotions and has allowed me to live through memorable moments, which I will carry along with me for the rest of my life. I have represented Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, countries which belong to very different cultures and which offer divergent economic and social backgrounds. In addition, I have worked in three distinct forums: the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and the Security Council, and have dealt with compelling and thought-provoking global issues, which have profoundly motivated me throughout the debate sessions.

In particular, this year I represented the People's Republic of China on the Security Council and the topic assigned was drone warfare, which I found of great interest, since the use of armed air vehicles represents a rising international risk at present. Throughout numerous debates, all delegates discussed the threats and consequences related to the use of armed drones in military operations. The main aim of the Security Council is to guarantee international peace and security and, moreover, to underline the importance of Humanitarian Law, which outlines all human rights, and which countries must attempt to respect. I enjoyed the active, dynamic and energetic atmosphere that dominated our committee: discussions were extremely productive and vigorous, sometimes leading to mo­ ments of tension which resulted, nonetheless, in being useful to establish agreements between countries.

Model United Nations has significantly contributed to my education and has allowed me to become open-minded and aware of fundamental issues that are emerging in today's soci­ ety. I deeply recommend this  remarkable experience  because it definitely influences  your  personal  view of  the world  and it allows you to observe the  reality  that surrounds  you  with the eyes of a grown-up and sophisticated student. The diplo­ matic association I am part of has called this project  Change the World Model United Nations (CWMUN), because it profoundly believes in the outstanding capabilities of students who are able to dedicate themselves to this project and to give their own contribution to make our world a better and safer place to live in. I invite you all to take this marvelous opportu­ nity into consideration for the upcoming year: the future is in our hands and each one of us can promote change towards a more prosperous world!