My Model United Nations Experience Resolution on Human Trafficking
Rosanna Eastman Rosanna is a 2014-15 MA student in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response in the HCRI.
The Model United Nations was an optional part of my Case Studies module at HCRI for my MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response., I decided to take part in it because it sounded like a really fun and intriguing opportunity outside of the classroom, which would also look good on my CV. As with anything new, I didn’t know quite what to expect over the course of the four sessions, but I was looking forward to seeing what lay ahead and finding out more about how the UN worked. The MUN is a collaboration between the HCRI and the Schools Linking Network, specifically 9 secondary schools from the Stockport area. Each school nominated 96 pupils; or 10-11 pupils per school to become MUN delegates. They were split in to sixteen countries and allocated a HCRI MA mentor for the duration of the experience. As part of my role as mentor I had to advise the students via an online forum called VLE, and answer any questions they may have had, including uploading articles on trafficking that may have been helpful to them, and making sure that they stayed on the right track with their position papers and country profiles.
As a whole, I found the MUN experience to be a thorough and fast-paced introduction to the topic of human trafficking and it also provided a privileged window into the inner workings of the UN. Looking back at my experience there were so many exercises and activities that we all took part in apart from the main goals of the country profile and position paper including: learning about the Millennium Development Goals; Investigating and presenting about trafficking in the cocoa and fashion industries; Hearing talks from organisations such as Stop the Traffik; A debate on The World’s Best Chocolate (which by the way is Cadbury’s dairy Milk!); and watching footage about children the same age as the student delegates who had been trafficked themselves. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished and packed into just 4 days.
One of the things that I thought was a really nice touch throughout the MUN process was the actual location of the sessions. In session 2, we were based in Whitworth Hall which is where the MA students will be graduating in December, and in sessions 3 and 4, we were based in Stockport Town Hall in the Council Chambers and Committee Rooms. As well as both places being impressive inside, the ambience added to the authenticity of the MUN experience for the student delegates, especially for the final sessions in Stockport Town Hall, where the delegates sat according to country, used the etiquette as if they were in a UN session, and communicated with individual one-way microphones.
On a personal level, I gained much from the MUN experience actually far beyond my expectations. As a person who has struggled for a long time with public speaking, I found the environment of the MUN was conducive to this end and there were very many small opportunities to practice this, without the pressure of feeling that everyone’s eyes were on me, since everyone else was also busy with their groups and with the various activities. I also learnt that in terms of mentoring the students, it’s important to be persistent with encouragement of students, and confident in your role as a mentor even if you don’t always feel it as the students really do look up to you and listen carefully to what you say.
Overall, the MUN experience is a truly memorable and remarkable thing to be a part of, and listening to the students unanimously positive feedback at the end of the final session, was genuinely moving and truly goes to show what a difference MUN can effect on both the school students and MA students. A particularly poignant comment came from a student who said that because of their participation in MUN they felt that they could truly make a difference in politics and that they would like to go and work for the UN right now! This is testament to the lasting impact of the MUN and I can emphatically recommend it for future MA HCRI students.