By Alina Cristina Buteica, member of the Rotaract club of Bucharest Triumph, and participant in the first-ever Rotaract Model UN in Romania
The courage to shine and take a stand. The courage to make informed decisions that will impact the world. The courage to find innovative ways for building international dialogue.
These are the things that come to my mind in reflecting on what I learned during the Rotaract Global Model United Nations in Baia Mare, Romania, 21-25 August. I had just spent a full year working in 10 countries in Africa when a good friend told me about this initiative and encouraged me to apply. I could hardly have imagined what I would experience.
The event in Baia Mare was the first of what we hope will be many Rotaract Global Model UN conferences. It felt to me like a time-capsule: an intensive week in which young students and professionals from four continents had the privilege to meet, work together and debate some of the most pressing issues on the international agenda at this moment.
This first Model UN simulated three councils: The Security Council, Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. Delegates had to step outside their comfort zones to suggest new, practical solutions to old problems, such as the situation in Syria, peacemaking in the Central African Republic, or the impact of climate change on indigenous communities.
The Romanian model UN introduced a new concept: a Rapporteur Office, responsible for forwarding a report containing our final suggestions and conclusions to the regional and international decision-making bodies, including the UN. As participants, we felt the weight of our responsibility on our shoulders.
It was an amazing experience. We all bonded and shared so many stories and anecdotes in just one week. Our friendship went beyond borders, cultures, or ages. As I chatted with friends after the conference, we all missed being in debate-mode and taking part in negotiations. The conference has also been a wonderful opportunity for us to explore the beautiful scenery of Maramures, a historic part of Romania.
I would say there are four chief things the Rotaract model UN brings forward:
- An awareness of the main international issues impacting our lives
- The art of debate and diplomacy. Or more simply put, how to look at old problems through a new lens, that of the younger generation.
- How to take responsibility for our opinions and resolutions (the discipline of decision-making)
- How to seek informed, collaborative solutions through cross-cultural dialogue, understanding, and peace-building (the discipline of collaborative action)
What is it that makes me feel a bit more confident about the future? It is our ability to take action and shape the future we want to see. As “Rotary in Action,” Rotaractors and youth from all over the world creatively engage in these debates during every edition of Rotaract Model UN.
What message do you have for present and future participants in the Rotaract Model UN?