By Alex Varsaki
Model United Nations is a conference students all around the world can attend, making it a multinational event. It simulates the United Nations seminars that are held in order to solve current problems in and between countries, today. MUN allows students to represent a country, debate its stance on a particular issue and try to achieve a unanimous solution in a formatted and concise resolution. This not only informs, but allows students that were mere strangers beforehand to become acquainted with one another - a friendship which extends past the duration of the conference.
Athens Model United Nations, beginning on April 1st this year, was no different. Arriving bright and early at the planetarium, many young, bright and excited faces came to represent not only a country of their choice, but their home country, stemming from all around the globe: India, The United States of America, China, South Africa, Germany, The United Kingdom, France and numerous other countries. Once everyone had arrived, they assembled in a hall called the General Assembly and the introductory speeches were given by the presidents of the conference, chairs of specific conferences and ambassadors, all warmly welcoming the students to AMUN 2011.
I participated in the conference and, it being my first time, I was nothing short of mortified at the idea of having to stand up at the podium in front of such a large audience. Sure, they were my peers; however, they were strangers - strangers that would be scrutinizing my every word as I spoke about the “Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology” in Japan. Right after the magnitude nine earthquake and twelve foot tsunami hit Japan. Thankfully, Nick Efstratoudakis broke my spell of nervousness by reprimanding the delegate of Mexico for wishing a moment of silence for Japan, stating that “Japan is an independent country, and finds the intervention of other countries unnecessary.” Needless to say, all of the delegates of Japan (all of which were ACS students) were attacked for that comment the entire three-day conference, so for that, we thank him.
The rest of the conference was filled with moments such as these, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone who participated when I say that not a single day passed by even remotely uneventful. Whether debating in heated arguments, accusing others of not knowing their own country’s policy, fixing the resolution for the eighteenth time, laughing at the frantic panic of allies when “You have two minutes to hand in your resolutions” was called out by the chairs, celebrating the passing of a resolution or clapping whenever the chairs shouted “Clapping is not in order” into the microphone for the umpteenth time, this year’s AMUN conference was a fantastic success and multiple resolutions composed by ACS students were passed.
So much as to say that I would dare to participate in another conference, and put myself on that podium which was once intimidating, but has now been conquered.
Here is what others had to say about the conference:
“AMUN was full of excitement and it gave the opportunity for individuals to come face to face with the real world and actually attempt to solve issues that even grownups have problems solving.” - Maria Vangelatou
“AMUN was a remarkable experience and proved to be an excellent opportunity to learn about world issues and how to solve them. It was educational, yet still enjoyable, and I gained several friends from participating in the conference.” - Sara Samad
All in all we learned a lot and had a lot of fun.