The challenge of walking in an another country’s shoes @ WorldMUN 2012, Vancouver (Part 3)

April 15, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

The next day I woke up rejuvenated and ready to go. Day 5 was crammed with 2 committee sessions, an advisor-head delegate feedback session, an advisor-head delegate tea party and finally the next social event, which was the Woodstock night. A lot of different things happened during this day’s two committee sessions. Draft resolutions were formed and submitted, and delegates also started making progress on the working papers that would be voted on towards the end of the conference for approval. Most of the time during this day’s sessions was spent in unmediated caucuses, which allowed open discussion of information and views, facilitating the formation of working papers. We also sang one of our fellow delegates from Malaysia happy birthday during the session. It must have been a very special moment for him as the session was suspended midway through just for a minute by the committee chair, to sing it out loud to him. I spent a lot of time between committee sessions talking to delegates about their experiences, and was always met with enthusiasm. After a day of hard work, we took out some time to do some sight seeing and went to some local markets for browsing. I actually skipped the head delegate- advisor meeting, as there was nothing essential to discuss. We also got a chance to visit the Vancouver aquarium, which was one of the highlights of the trip. The night continued with the theme of festivities and the mood depicted was of a hippy town. Brightly coloured clothes, bell-bottoms and headbands were to be seen everywhere. The space was setup with wooden benches, tents, an Oxygen bar which I have to admit was pretty cool and a live band, which was awesome. Accordingly to many people it was the best music out of all the nightly events and I happen to agree with it.

Social Event – Woodstock

Woodstock Night-the band

Delegate Mahad Naseer chillin’ at the O2 Bar

The last day of the conference was one to remember, as it was the day to vote on the working papers and maybe even pass one of them through a simple voting majority. We were supporting a working paper made under the supervision of China and France, also being supported by Palestine, Israel and the African Union. During this session working papers were compared to buffets, doughnuts, beef burgers and many other uncharacteristic food examples. The representative Iranian delegate (who was actually Mexican) objected on the short dresses of the female delegates (keeping in view that Islam is the religion followed in Iran). This lightened the mood in the room and resulted in subtle laughter. This was also followed by a catwalk in the committee room by a Venezuelan lady, who countered that her outfit was fit for session resulting in a second wave of laughter in the room. As proper order was restored again in the room after many expressive, emotional and even aggressive closing statements, it was time to vote. The result was beyond belief and very surprising to say the least since 3 of the 4 working papers provided failed miserably, whereas the fourth one which was being supported by us tied due to the exact number of votes for and against. Therefore we did not pass a working paper but that did not make the process of reaching that point any less exciting.

The day ended with the closing ceremony held in the Vancouver Convention center followed by the Au Revoir: The Farewell Party held at the UBC war memorial. The Closing Ceremonies, with keynote speaker Stephen Toope, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of British Columbia, were an excellent conclusion and summation of some important lessons from the conference.  Mr. Toope reminded us that our minds and our ideas are not static, but that they expand as we invite ideas in. He further stated that this experience has changed us as people and when someone looks at our passports they will be looking at new identities. He also mentioned that curiosity, diplomacy and respect will take one far and that the antidote to fear and ignorance is friendship.  With these lessons taken to heart, and through new friendships forged and old friendships that grew stronger, WorldMUN had helped to make us, in Mr. Toope’s words, “the kind of citizens that our world needs.” Indeed, all the delegates are what make up the WorldMUN. The WorldMUN Spirit still lives on even with WorldMUN 2012 having been concluded, especially due to the fact that the conference ended with such a bang!  Immediately after Closing Ceremonies, delegates, staff, and all attendees were ushered just outside of the Vancouver Convention Centre to witness the Olympic Flame being lit. It was a fitting end to the conference, and at the risk of being too clichéd, the symbolism of the lighting of a flame seemed to mirror the mood of the end of the conference.  The friendships, the lessons, the WorldMUN Spirit, the entire experience lives on in all of those who participated in Vancouver WorldMUN 2012.

HKU Delegates with the delegation of Netherlands

 

The local and international students attending the mini-UN came to debate, negotiate and solve challenging global issues, such as the Israel-Palestine conflict and the European debt crisis. During the five-day conference, they tried to bring a fresh perspective to global politics. To do so, they emulated global leaders through role-play. Committees were amazing, social events were a blast, and Vancouver was – despite the typically rainy weather – a beautiful and fun city.  It was the comments I heard about individual’s experiences with their fellow delegates that gave me the greatest sense of the WorldMUN spirit though.  One delegate loved WorldMUN because of how truly multicultural it was – I myself met Italians, Peruvians, Australians, Americans, Venezuelans, Lebanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Germans, and Malaysians within the span of fifteen minutes.  Another made a emotional comment, expressing how excited he was to “meet people, not just no-name delegates.” It was his first time attending WorldMUN, and I felt that the conference did an excellent job of portraying a “true world model.”  Delegates were proud to talk about where they were from and share as much of their culture as they could.  At the same time, they were committed to and engaged with the country that they were representing. The whole event encompassed five days (and nights) of debating, writing resolutions, wearing suits, maybe a little partying, and perhaps most importantly, meeting awesome, driven, like-minded people from around the world.

 

Granville Market

This diversity, cultural exposure, and enthusiasm to meet as many people as possible were a common theme throughout my week at WorldMUN. The trip has been an immense success and I would like to thank all my group members, our Faculty advisor Professor Tony Cary and definitely the ALS section of HKU for supporting us and making it a feature of my university life.

 

 

Hamza Farrukh

Engineering-Year 3

 



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