My name is Cassia Nasralla, I'm currently a grade 12 student at Shawnigan Lake School, and this past summer I had the honour of attending United Ambassadors' MUN 2016 Youth Assembly Conference. I attended the UA MUN 2016 Assembly as a single high school delegate coming from the west coast of Canada to represent my school's MUN club, Shawnigan Model UN, and our Model UN conference that our club hosts annually, ShawMUN. Over the course of the assembly the committee group which I was a part of discussed how to incorporate the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals into Model UN programs.
Throughout the conference the delegates were scattered in various locations across the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Having only been to the General Assembly in the UN once prior to the MUN Youth Assembly, it was empowering to have had the access to all the facilities for our conference. For myself, my highlight of UA-MUN Youth Assembly was walking into the UN every morning sporting our most formal western business attire and access badges, as if we were actual delegates who worked for the United Nations. It was incredibly inspiring to walk in the footsteps of world leaders who have contributed to making the world a better place for all, which after all is why we were all there to begin with.
The actual MUN 2016 Youth Assembly itself was an over success of accomplishing the somewhat daunting task of creating a resolution that would be provided as a resource for all Model UN clubs around the globe. Overall, the topics assigned to each committee went very in depth on the level of creativity and explanation of how these topics could be incorporated into Model UN and the procedures required to implement them.
At times topics would veer into more controversial discussions such as gender equality, allocating finances, sexuality, media, and liability of others. This was when us delegates got to flaunt our diplomacy skills; as we expressed our delegation's opinion on the matter, and negotiated with other delegates on how to come up with a solution that would be beneficial to all programs represented at the conference.
My personal experience at the conference is rather special, and quite distinguished from other delegates who participated at the 2016 Youth Assembly. I was fortunate enough on the first day of the conference to have been chosen to speak in the ECOSOC chamber following the preselected speakers. This allowed me to voice Shawnigan Model UN's opinions to all the delegates, and ultimately, got many of the delegations to know who I was. I discussed about how Shawnigan Lake School embodies the values of the Sustainable Development Goals and already incorporates many of them into our everyday school life. I also quoted Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his message about "youth being the global leaders of today, and not just of tomorrow" and how this conference is allowing us to live out this call to action.
Throughout the remainder of the conference other delegates approached me to commend my speech delivered in the ECOSOC chamber, which allowed myself some flexibility when working with other delegates in our breakout committees. During the closing ceremonies for the conference which were held in the General Assembly, I was merited the "Best Idea Contributor Award" for my committee, which was a very big honour considering all the incredible ideas brought forward in my breakout committee. Then to finish off the conference, once again I was given the opportunity to address all the delegates at the UA-MUN Youth Assembly, but this time at the podium. For myself, those precious two minutes were a life goal being accomplished, as I had always hoped to one day speak address a message at the podium in the General Assembly hall. Overall, it was a perfect way to end a very significant conference.
Reflecting on my time at the MUN Youth Assembly, there are many ways this conference affected me. Firstly, my knowledge of the United Nations and those involved have been expanded. Secondly, I have left leaving this conference with more faith for the future prosperity of the world knowing that there are people in it like the ones I met that week. Thirdly, I firmly believe that Model UN can change the world around us, simply because it already is for so many individuals across the globe. Whether indirectly or directly, MUN will be making a difference to the lives of many others. Lastly, I feel more inspired to make a difference in my own community, especially in final high school year at Shawnigan.
Looking ahead, I plan on implementing various points of the resolution into my school's community and within out Model UN club. Moreover, as the Director General for ShawMUN, I hope to work alongside my ShawMUN staff and friends to help make our conference the best it can be through the guidance of the clauses of the resolution that we created during that very special week in big apple at the United Nations.