- Responding to the Challenge of Narco-Traffic and Organized Crime in West Africa
- Drug Trafficking and its Role in Fueling Conflict in Central and South America
- Exploring the Effects of Decriminalization Strategies within International Drug Policy
At the beginning of the semester, I really didn’t anticipate how much I was going to grow from this whole experience. Nationals was a one week crash course in team building and work ethic. Your partner, your team and the group you are working with become your family. Sharing our experiences in our daily debriefing was such a stress relief because of the great group of people in our team, listening to everyone share their thoughts made you realize that you were not the only person in the enormous hotel feeling like crap. Though I didn’t know most of the people in the class, after the end of Nationals I feel like we all share a bond because of the stress of getting working papers done and that feeling of complete delight when your working paper is a draft resolution. I don’t know if it was in their job description to be so sweet and supportive but our head delegates totally came through for us. Before the conference Gina, John and Tahsin were there to help us recognize our weaknesses make us better delegates. Though at times it was intimidating, because I personally felt like the I had to impress them but as the class went on I realized these guys are on my team, though they are assessing me they are there to help me and everyone else improve. During Nationals, they set the standard high for future head delegates, they brought us snacks,reminded us that there is a world outside all this, gave us pep talks and hugs, and Tahsin even sang for us when we were stressed. Being surrounded by such incredible people made the whole experience even more wonderful.
As fun as nationals can be it requires an equal amount of hard work. I personally did not sleep enough during the week but who needs sleep right? Being present and being on time when your group is meeting is super important. Hair and makeup by Wednesday morning didn’t really matter; I had to make sure I was the first person to our group meetings and the last person to leave because I didn’t want other delegates messing with the working paper when I wasn’t there. Yes, Nationals did bring out the control freak in me but whatever gets the work done. Besides the lack of sleep which was also due to LOTS of talking with my roommates, and the over whelming stress, Nationals are a once in a life time sort of an experience. Seriously. It changes you. For me it brought out aspects of my personality that I didn’t know where there. Ultimately you come out of all the NMUN nonsense with a great group of friends,an awesome feeling of accomplishment and sometimes an itch to play the game all over again.
In the beginning, I was a little unsure about my topic “Commission on Narcotic Drugs” because I had to represent the Netherlands, a country best known for its liberal approach to drug usage. I questioned how I was able to explain ways of combating Narcotic Drugs through the Netherlands policy. I did not have a clear understanding of why they chose to follow this method, and I was sure that many countries were against the Netherland’s approach. However, after doing a lot of research, I soon realized that the Dutch approach to drug was not as unstructured as I thought it was, and that many other countries are looking up to the Netherlands as a model of combating the prevalent global drug problems. Through the amount of knowledge I gained from the research, I was more comfortable in playing the role of a Dutch diplomat and made myself believe that our approach to drug was the most substantial.
I was part of a smaller committee which consisted of about 40 countries. I think that being a part of a smaller committee was very beneficial. I was able to negotiate with almost everyone, and I was able to present more than one of my speeches. In this way, I felt like I was able to experience working as a diplomat in the UN much more. On the other hand, working in a smaller group, felt more competitive. Because the Netherlands approach to drug was very alien to many nations, other countries did not agree on following with our policy, therefore, I could not take an approach that fully emphasized decriminalization. I had to take a more social aspect which everyone would agree with, and at the same time, something that would not oppose the Dutch policy. This was very tricky, and for a while, I was very overwhelmed as to how I can work and twist this idea. With the help of the head delegates, we came up to the conclusion that I can focus on fair-trade and alternative agriculture. This perspective was more welcoming to the other countries, and I felt more at ease. I proposed the fair trade idea to the delegates around me, which agreed with the approach. Thankfully, from then a group started to form and we were able to create start a working paper, which ultimately became a passing resolution. I was also working on another working paper that focused on the human rights aspect of drug policy. Unlike the first paper on alternative agriculture, this paper had to merge with another working paper. Fortunately, there was a working paper which focused on security and the sponsors of that group agreed that our piece on human rights complimented their paper, making it easier to incorporate our piece with theirs.
The National Model United Nations (NMUN) to me was two months of research and five days of being able to put those researches into an action plan on how to create a resolution for the world’s conflicts. Even though it was only a “model” I could not imagine it as something that was unreal. To me, every debates and negotiations were real, every delegate in the committees were diplomats of the country they were representing. I really enjoyed my Model UN experience. It was very exciting to meet people from across the world. Something special I came to learn in those five days in committee, is that even though we were different from each other we are similar in that we have an ambition to one day give back to the world, and make it better and safer place for people to live.