Today was an unforgettable day, in a literal sense.
During the Opening ceremonies we focused on this year's topic: The Cause of Freedom. We were reminded and encouraged to continue remembering that a group freedom cannot be seen as separate from individual freedom. The keynote speaker was a former UN representative for the US, and has lived in China for many years.
The speaker was very political- he didn't "take sides", but brazenly expressed his opinion. Because of how direct he was in voicing his opinion, he came off as egregiously careless and biased, when speaking about delicate and intricate topics. He spoke openly about his concerns with the current political climate in the United States and the ways in which the Trump administration has been and is impacting the perceived benefits of a democratic nation within the global communities. He spoke about China/US relations, and about the overall loss of a strong push away from democracy around the world- a general decrease in democratic values.
However in the actual committees I went in with very low expectations and they were easily exceeded. CISSMUN uses a procedure called THIMUN which is different from what we use in the US (UCLA rules). Getting the chance to meet with CISSMUN's students and leadership team about this difference allowed us to go into today more prepared and ready to participate. This type of MUN procedure has very positive points such as; much less power to the chair, efficiency, and directness. There are negatives to this change, but the takeaways will be mainly positive.
It was very encouraging to encounter people with similar life experiences as myself, such as living in three different continents and being trilingual. It was very, very pleasant to encounter people that understand, what I experience. They live a different reality than myself, but still relate to a deep sense of loss of identity/embrace of identity dilemma.
Bella and I had the pleasure to meet many well-intentioned, smart, and genuinely diligent delegates. That doesn’t mean we agreed on everything (by far) but that we were treated with the most respect we’ve ever encountered in a conference.
There is much more to come in these next few days but I would gladly go home with this experience alone which says a lot.
Let’s finish the conference. Thank you to you all who made this amazing trip possible, much love.