Yeshiva University National Model United Nations conference
A promoter of tolerance
Two weeks ago, six of my peers and I had the privilege of attending the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations conference, or YUNMUN for short. For two days, we were able to come together with hundreds of other Jewish day school students from across the country and debate current political, social, military, and economic issues. We had all spent the past few months researching our assigned countries position on the designated topic and rehearsing our opening speeches for the debate. This was my third year on Robert M. Beren Academy’s Model UN team, and every year is a new learning experience for me.
During my first conference, the greatest lesson was about self-confidence. To be able to stand up and speak in front of 30-odd perfect strangers on a topic that has absolutely no connection to one’s everyday life is not a simple task. However, being in the conference, and seeing that I was able to perform well, truly boosted my self-assurance. I saw the same transformation within my other teammates. We all gained the ability to see our potential and achieve it.
My second year taught me the ins and outs of public speaking. Once I had the conviction aspect handled, I was really able to focus on the rhetoric and poise required to debate and work well with others. Through practices with the team and the amazing advice of the Model UN coaches, I was able to enhance my orating skills. In any job or career, the ability to speak with others and to a crowd in an educated and articulate manner is crucial. This skill is one that I will hold with me for the rest of my life.
This year, proved to delineate an entirely different sort of lesson. Many of the countries that delegates are assigned have drastically different ideologies from those that we, as western Americans, hold to be true. However, during the conference, one needs to play the part of an actual UN delegate from that designated country. I believe that this teaches tremendous tolerance in the ideas of others. In the months before the conference, the participants spent hours researching the basis to their countries positions on different issues. This allows them to see the other side from within that country’s perspective and not from an American one.
This is the lesson that I will take with me now as I move on to university. To listen to other’s beliefs and acknowledge that they also have the right to an opinion and an ideal is important in any just and free society. I only hope that I can spread this ideal as move on to the next chapter in my life.
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