With the new academic year in sight, the age-old question inevitably arises: What did you do over summer break?
I, for one, had the absolute pleasure of spending a week within the grounds of a college halfway around the world as a participant of the annual Alma College Global Challenge. The Global Challenge is a simulation of a United Nations (UN) Security Council crisis, addressing international issues such as the West African Ebola virus epidemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and, this year, the far-reaching impacts of the biggest threat to global peace and security climate change.
In all honesty, I didn’t quite know what to expect upon arriving on campus, but the days that followed definitely exceeded any and all expectations I could’ve had.
Unlike most Model UN conferences, the Global Challenge favored informal sessions of discussion and writing UN-style documents over moderated caucuses, which I personally found to be a breath of fresh air. The Challenge’s less rigid format encouraged direct engagement between delegates rather than through the Chair, cultivating an environment for cooperation in place of competition. As such, instead of channeling our time and energy into abiding by parliamentary procedure and proving one another wrong in hopes of being noticed by the Chair, we were able to focus on collectively producing a cohesive statement of innovative solutions to the issue at hand.
Under the remarkable guidance of the members of the Alma College Model UN Team, which has been recognized as the?Outstanding Delegationa at the worlda’s most prestigious Model UN conference 24 consecutive times, I spent the week researching, writing (and rewriting) papers, delivering speeches, negotiating and drafting resolutions with my fellow delegates.
After several days of hard work, thoughtful conversation, ice cream ?socialsa? (during which we duly consoled ourselves with glorified frozen cream after having to restart our resolution paper from scratch) and sporadic fun, we presented our final draft resolutions, delivered our closing speeches and celebrated all that we achieved over the course of the Challenge.
At the end of the week, I walked away with a much clearer understanding of and a newfound respect for the work of UN representatives, improved research and communication skills, wonderful new friends and mentors, far too many pictures to count and an incredible summer experience to look back on for a long time to come.