Before their trip to Montreal, we caught up with the Bondies representing us overseas in The World Model United Nations Conference. After their stint abroad they are finally back on campus, and Holli fills us in on her experience representing Bond University on the global stage.
How did I get into BondMUNS? I have been participating in Model UN since I started at Bond. I then went on to be on BUUNSA (Bond University United Nations Student Association), have been to two AMUNCs (Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference) and participated and chaired the BMUNC (Bond Model United Nations Conference) Revolution with Professor Mark Dinnen. Professor Dinnen has championed the BondMUNS initiative to strengthen the skill set of international relations students through practical simulation and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunities he has presented.
The World Model United Nations Conference schedule was packed into five days including the official opening and closing ceremonies in which we heard keynote speeches from prominent international affairs experts, four days of committee sessions debating out allocated issues and still finding the time for social and networking events.
Bond University was asked to represent the country of South Sudan across three committees. I was representing South Sudan with Martin Campbell on the First General Assembly, that has the mandate of Disarmament and International Security. We debated the incredibly complex and nuanced issue of the security challenges presented by women’s role in armed conflict. A unique feature of World MUN is that the committees seek to represent as many Member States as possible, putting Martin and I on a committee with 150 other delegations. Committee sessions were challenging due to the many delegations present but also because of the vast array of foreign policies that need to be reconciled in the drafting of resolutions.
Despite sometimes missing the opportunity to speak, Martin and I found other opportunities to engage, such as through informal discussions with other delegates and worked hard in amending resolutions to match the state interests of developing countries. We had the invaluable opportunity to meet students from around the world from France to Venezuela and Japan to Iran and much more in between. The intercultural skill to create rapport with people from across the world is becoming increasingly important and MUN provides an incredible platform to develop that skill.
Visiting New York City in the first place was a dream come true. However, having a tour of the United Nations, sitting in on an expert panel for the Commission of Status of Women, meeting the former Assistant Secretary General, Elizabeth Lindenmayer and the Australian Ambassador to the UN was surreal. In just a few busy days we had dined and held meetings with some of the most brilliant minds in International Relations, many which were facilitated by incredible Bond University Alumni.
There is an overwhelming feeling of standing in the UN Security Council, knowing the discussions that had occurred inside those walls and the decisions that have been made. We travelled to Washington DC for meetings at the Australian Embassy to the USA, a tour of Congress, the many Smithsonian museums and memorials along the National Mall. There was certainly a buzz in Washington on our arrival as we toured Congress the day President Trump was attempting to pass his controversial health-care bill. This provided such a unique insight into USA politics and helped us gain an appreciation for the nuances of their political system.
WorldMUN’s motto is ‘Where Worlds Meet and Cultures Unite’. This motto truly manifested in my experience on this trip. We had many occasions to meet new people and gain a stronger appreciation for other countries. We formed connections with students from across the world, making our collective experience more valuable. I had the pleasure of meeting up with a student I met at the JUEMUN Conference last year in Kyoto. Kanako is a student from Kindai University who then introduced us to the rest of her delegation and we spent much of our time off sharing experiences from our very different backgrounds. While the significance of visiting the UN, Washington DC and meeting remarkable experts was incredible, it was these smaller moments, creating friendships, that made this trip so memorable.