"Michael McLean - Maxwell School of Syracuse University"
Mclean 1 Mike Mclean MUN Reflection Paper Dr. D’Amico May 4,2010 I had applied to MUN last year and was very disappointed when I was not selected as a delegate, however I realized that my skill set does not lie in the Middle East and Syracuse was representing Libya. That is why I was so excited when Syracuse was chosen to represent Peru this year. I may not be an expert on Peru, but I figured my experiences in Latin America would make me an excellent delegate. That is why I decided to apply once again this year. I was ecstatic when I found out that I was selected to be part of the team, and even better my good friends Genevieve and Krista were also selected. The entire process from preparation to the actual conference was one of the most enlightening experiences of my colligate career. I was a little unimpressed with international organizations after my fall internship with the OAS, but after experiencing MUN I can say that I am beginning to see the worth in these types of organizations. The preparation for the conference put me slightly out of my comfort zone. I had never had a class that was set up quiet like IRP 470. I knew that it was designed to be a workshop, but I guess I could not really conceptualize how it would go until I actually attended class. I was slightly intimidated coming into the first session. I knew that everyone on the team would be very accomplished but I didn’t realize they would all be really interesting and friendly people as well. I would have enjoyed getting to know all of the delegates in a more informal setting a little sooner in the semester. We all go get drinks now and hangout outside of class, however this didn’t start happening until we got back from the conference. I think the team would build much stronger bond and be a Mclean 2 more competitive unit if they were to have more informal get together before the conference. Maybe a potluck (using typical food from the country being represented) or movie night would be something to consider. In regard to the more academic portions of our preparation sessions, I thought there was a nice balance. I never felt overwhelmed with the workload, but did feel challenged. The panel of Peruvian students was very informative and it was enlightening to get the Peruvian perspective, since we had to represent this perspective as best we could. I really enjoyed speaking with Dr. Mathiason, however I did not feel prepared to write a resolution after his session. He gave us a very good overview of the process and the concept of resolution writing, but I felt that going into the conference I did not have a grasp on how to really write a resolution on a technical level. The only reason I was able to contribute to writing a resolution in my committee is because I teamed up with another delegation that had extensive MUN experience. Perhaps before our session with Dr. Mathiason it would have been beneficial for students to have written draft resolutions and gone over them with him. The actual conference for me was absolutely amazing. When Mert told us how intense some of the delegations were, I didn’t really believe him. However, literally at the opening ceremony a kid came up to me and asked me how many conferences I had been to and told me that he had been to 6 already and would be happy to help me out if I wanted. I just nodded and walked away as quickly as possible. Although, the conference was full of these types of people, I also met many very interesting and kind people as well. The coalition we formed in committee was full of these kind and interesting people from all over the world. It was amazing to me that someone from Germany representing Mclean 3 Uruguay and a person from the United States representing Peru could work together in such a productive and collaborative way. It may sound corny, but the MUN conference showed me how cultural understanding can build strong relationships that transcend borders, nationalities, political ideology and ethnicities. Although I loved my time at the conference, I still had some issues with how the event was managed. I feel that is just too large and that the organizers either need to make another conference or begin to limit the number of delegations present. Not only was it inconvenient at the hotel when you had to wait for an elevator for 20 minutes, but the opening and closing ceremonies had issues as well. The fact that some delegations that traveled immense distances didn’t even get to go into the great hall at UN headquarters for the closing ceremony really bothered me. I stayed for the closing ceremony and witnessed UN security basically throwing out a girl from Montreal with tears in her eyes because they would not allow us in the great hall. We arrived four hours early for the event and were still in the over flow rooms for the ceremony. I was furious with how I and the other delegates were treated by not only UN security but also MUN staff, if they can’t handle the size of the conference they should control its growth better, it’s just logical. I had the opportunity to bump into the Secretary General of our conference at the hotel after the closing ceremony. I expressed my appreciation for her hard work and how much I enjoyed the conference, but also took the opportunity to express my discontent with how the closing ceremony was handled. She apologized and said that since she will be on the board of directors next year, she will make sure to bring the issue up for review. Although she might have just said this to get rid of me, I feel that it was my responsibility Mclean 4 to express my issues with the conference so that it can become stronger and better managed. The overall experience of MUN from preparation to the conference to our debriefing sessions was something I will never forget, and greatly assisted my academic and professional development. It is a shame that Maxwell administration does not feel the same way about the program, however after the meeting myself and Christine had with the Dean, I feel we now have a good line of communication open. He seemed to be receptive to utilizing student representatives from the team to target donors. He stated that donors want to see a face to where their money is going, and that he will keep us in mind whenever he talks to a donor that might be interested in the program. Hopefully this will be away to avoid a course fee, and may even lead to more cooperation between Maxwell administration and the undergraduate program.