It is quite strange to be back home. After 12 days in New York, we’d all gotten used to crowded subway commutes, to bagels and bad coffee, to feeling rich with a stack of 1 dollar bills, to amazing rooftop views, to the dirt, to the noise. But we come back thoroughly satisfied with our achievements at this year’s conference and glad to be able to say that we had a great time with the Frankfurt School delegation in the city that never sleeps.
Work was intense, fast-paced. In the blink of an eye, four conference days were over and draft resolutions were submitted and voted upon by all of the simulated committees. Time to breathe. Even though our delegates were able to pass all those resolutions which represented the interests of India and the UK in most committees – a sign of successful negotiations and strategic planning –, committee work was not easy for anybody. Not only waking up early after having worked late into the night on phrasing operative clauses (the formal form of solution propositions in UN resolutions) to make them accord with everyone else’s interests, but also maintaining a diplomatic demeanor while confronting opposition, dealing with gridlocked negotiations and holding speeches in front of hundreds of people took a toll on all of us. It thus only felt appropriate to be rewarded with an incredible closing ceremony in the UN Headquarters on Thursday.
Walking into the UN General Assembly Hall and getting to see the speech podium one otherwise only glimpses on TV is already a breath-taking experience in itself. Add to this a speech by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon himself and a Delegation Award and you are basically left speechless. And this is exactly how it went.
It has been a running joke throughout the years among NMUN NY participants that Ban Ki-moon would hold a speech at the closing ceremony. Nobody ever really thought he’d actually turn up. This is why we could all just stare in disbelief as he walked in on Thursday. He congratulated us for our work and reminded us of the importance of the involvement of young leaders in finding solutions for the post-2015 UN agenda. Really a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. On top of that, the Frankfurt School Delegation received a Honorable Mention Award that recognizes 20% of the attending delegations for their exceptional hard work throughout the conference. This is the first time that the Frankfurt School brings home an award of this kind from New York, an award that testifies that this year’s delegates stood out in all committees for their commitment and proactive participation. It was a well-deserved recognition and Christoph – my co-Head – and I could not be prouder.
The awards are good and well, but I believe that it is the more important to highlight that MUN is not a competition. Quite the opposite. It is about cooperation and empathy, about finding ways to a better world for everyone by sharing and developing ideas with other young people from completely different backgrounds. It is about showing that we see past the end of our own noses and that we care about the future of the planet we all share. Perhaps this is why holding such a conference in New York feels so appropriate: in a city where bits and pieces from the whole world come together and coexist in organized chaos. Sometimes there is nothing more telling than that. It is thus no wonder that after a few days only, we all felt already at home. As Tom Wolfe said,
“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years”.