Preparing future leaders to pursue peace

Elsa Garcia Soto at the United Nations in New York.

Elsa Soto Garcia at the United Nations in New York.

By Elsa Soto Garcia, Rotaract Club of Mexicali Industrial, Mexico 

Walking through the doors of the United Nations headquarters building in New York was an awesome experience. Sitting in a room full of students from 30 different nationalities, sharing ideas on how to promote the model UN programs in our countries, was even more amazing.

I have been taking part in model UN programs for many years. My first taste came as an exchange student in Europe while I was attending the Autonomous University of Baja California. I had an opportunity to take part in model UN delegations in France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Mexico.

I became involved in Rotary’s model UN program through District 5340 as a student at San Diego State University’s campus in Imperial Valley, where I helped found a chapter of Rotaract. The district’s program draws high school students from across southern California, each sponsored by their local Rotary club, and immerses them in the intricacies of conflict resolution and diplomacy. They also have a unique opportunity to make new friends and meet world leaders, like last year’s conference key note speaker Dr. Hamid Al-Bayati, Iraq’s Ambassador to the UN.

It is a shining example of our work in promoting peace.

Each year, the United Nations chooses 70 model UN organizers to take part in a week-long training program at the headquarters building in New York. I was thrilled to be accepted for this year’s class, and learn new skills to bring back to the San Diego program. I had the honor of addressing the Deputy Secretary General for the United Nations, Mr. Jan Eliasson, and mentioning Rotary’s longstanding relationship with the UN. He told us what a great job Rotary has been doing on working to eradicate polio and provide clean drinking water.

Aaron Ng’ambi, a Rotaractor from Hawaii and Natali Soroka a Rotaractor from Ukraine, sought me out after his comment. We discovered we all shared an interest in building international awareness and diplomacy. We shared how Rotaract has empowered us to do so, and how great we thought it was that the Rotaract Club of Baia Mare in Romania hosted the first Rotaract International Model UN last August.

Through Rotaract, Rotary empowers young people to be future leaders. I am also proud of my involvement in the model UN program, where we prepare students to take on roles in civil administration and seek peace and democracy. We will keep preparing students here in San Diego and Imperial Valley to be future peace workers, and maybe even proud Rotaractors and Rotarians!

6 thoughts on “Preparing future leaders to pursue peace

  1. All that Rotary in known for needs young leaders like you. Keep pursuing your dreams and do all that you can for that love.


  2. Congratulations on your progress and future endeavors! I believe that the spirit of Rotary should be instilled in the youth when they are young. I took my daughter to visit Bangkok slums when she was 5. She chartered her Interact club in high school and later became president of Rotaract Club of Williams College in Massachusetts, the same year when I was president of the Rotary Club of Bangkok. While she’s working at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., she’s pondering a further study in public service at her graduate level. Rotarians the world over should support our younger generations to make the world a better place.


  3. Pingback: Today’s Links | Rotary International District 3040

  4. How very nice to know the Rotary’s model UN program! Thanks to Elsa Soto Garcia, Rotaract Club of Mexicali Industrial. It is also good to know that; each year, the United Nations chooses 4,000 people involved in model UNs to take part in a week-long training program at the headquarters building in New York. No doughty it is a shining example of our work in promoting peace. –Sk. Abdul Hadi, RC Khulna North, RID 3281


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