Throughout my life, I have wondered what it might be like to be a part of the United Nations, and how they deal with the issues they are presented on a daily basis. Last October, I had the chance to fulfill this curiosity by participating in the 2013 PANAMUN conference with a group of other students from my high school, Panama Coast International School.
Before we were even able to go to the conference, we had to spend many extracurricular hours studying and preparing. We were given the country of South Africa to represent. We all wrote speeches and position papers. Position papers are about a page long and report on your country’s position on the topic at hand. At times this was difficult, because regardless of what we thought had to be done about the issue, we could only make decisions and write based on our country’s position, and not our own.
Each of us had three different issues that our committee would debate on. I was in the Economic and Social council, and we dealt with issues such as the situation in the Gaza Strip, the instability in Somalia, and the rise in world military expenditure. For each of the topics, people wrote resolutions to these issues, and then we would debate the resolutions as a committee. There were many different debate procedures that I was unaware of going into the conference, so it was a very interesting learning experience!
We all stayed in Panama City in a condo for two nights, and went to the conference via bus for the three conference days. We cooked our own meals for breakfast and dinner each day. There were hundreds of other high school students from around the globe who showed up to participate. Many of them were very experienced with these conferences, but my classmates and I had never been to a single one!
The majority of the other delegates were from the International School of Panama, which is where the conference was held. I met many awesome people, experienced the difficult task of being a United Nations delegate, and grew closer with my PCIS classmates. This was the first time our school participated in the conference, and we will definitely be going next year! I’d like to say thank you to Kathy Kress, our principal, for organizing the whole experience and spending so much of her personal time helping us conduct research and write our papers. I’d also like to thank Inside Panama Real Estate for sponsoring us and paying for our expenses.
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