Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting to Know Botswana's Committees

Today we had a meeting with the Model UN team. It was the last one we will have before the Christmas break, because the finals are approaching! It was a great meeting not only because of the pizza but also because we got to know in detail how we are going to be organized. We are very lucky that we will have Dr. Weinstein guiding our work during the whole process, because he is an expert on the Model UN. The most important thing we learnt today is that we have to be divided into different committees. Each of them will deal with different topics (if I'm not wrong, there are about three topics on each category), so now we have some weeks to do some individual research and see what committee fits each one the most. As I already mentioned in a previous post, we are representing Botswana, which has six different committees.  Let's see what are these:

  • General Assembly First Committee
  • General Assembly Second Committee
  • General Assembly Third Committee
  • World Intellectual Property Organization
  • African Development Bank
  • Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 

Since the country is pretty small, we don't really participate in small committees. The four first ones are actually very big. A general assembly might have over 90 countries participating at the same time. Which means that the countries that want to talk will have around 45 seconds to do so! This is when you realize how concise you have to be. We will definitely need to learn how to say everything we need to say in such short time. The big assemblies are also harder to follow. According to Dr. Weinstein, we might even spend a couple of hours only deciding what topic should we debate first! He also warned us that we will have some frustration during the 5 days of the Model UN in April, which I can actually imagine. As a contrast, in the smaller committees (like the last two I wrote) the delegates have more chances to speak and debate. One thing that we need to learn is how to avoid "I believe". In the debates there is no "I" anymore. We are talking on behalf of a country, so no one cares what we actually think (even if it sounds hard). I can imagine this is going to be a bit difficult to handle when you are nervous, but we have to change "I think" into "my country..." if we want to do a good job. 

One of the things I'm more excited about is the fact that in the Model UN of New York, there are schools participating that come from all over the world. There is even a university from Barcelona! We will spend there 5 full days, which means we will have the chance to meet people from all over the place. It feels like if I'm going to be able to travel without moving from NYC. Dr. Weinstein, who has participated in the program for many years with other universities, told us how lucky we are to live in New York. If you think about it, schools coming from other countries have to pay a huge amount of money (flights, hotel rooms, etc.) and we don't need that. Moreover, the opening and closing ceremonies will be held in the actual United Nations, which sounds awesome! We are going to be treated somehow as if we were real diplomats, or at least that's why it feels by having those meetings there. 

Now that we know how we have to organize ourselves, what's next? We have to practice just as if we were soccer players! But in this case we will have to learn about the rules of the Model UN. In addition, we will have to get a lot of vocabulary (I thing I might have to work a lot on it!). We will also need to develop skills in resolution writing and public speaking... We actually have to present our position on March, which is a paper stating our delegation's opinion on each topic. I guess there are many other aspects we need to work on. But we have time to do and I am very confident that we have the right people guiding us. As I said before, now it's time to do some research and see what topics I would be more comfortable with. Well, actually let's wait until the finals are over! 

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