San Jose Hockey to Vancouver MUN

Two weekends ago, I was down in San Jose, California playing the game that Canada claims their own.

Last weekend I was sitting in the Hyatt Regency hotel debating world issues such as Private Military Companies and the Arab Springs.

Two vastly different worlds.

This might seem like an odd mix of activities that I have engaged in throughout the past month. I found myself pondering this, when just the other day in my English Lit class, while reading Hamlet; we discussed what advice we'd give to our children if they were heading off into the world...

Amongst the most common answers were:
- follow your passions
- treat people how you want to be treated
- be yourself!

These are all wonderful and definitely words I try to live by; however, the first one on my list was:
- Enter each day with an open mind. Be open to trying new things and expanding your horizons.

So although being on the ice with my team is more my cup of tea, I was eager to experience something farther from my typical realm.

And a wonderful weekend it was at Vancouver Model United Nations. I was the delegate representing Honduras in DISEC (Disarmament and International Security Committee). The whole weekend was spent in committee sessions where we discussed and debated two topics; A Response to the Arab Springs, and Private Military Companies. There were over 700 delegates at this conference, ranging from grades 7-12. As the weekend went on, I could see that Model United Nations to some people, is like hockey to me. Instead of going to practices, they research their country's foreign policy; and then the conferences are like their tournaments.

It was an incredible experience, but I don't think I'd go again. I went, I saw, I can say that I've experienced something new. It was quickly established who the more intense delegates were; the ones who've been to MUN's several times before, the ones who actually did their research, and the ones who love debating and public speaking. I was none of those. It was quickly established that I was one of the probably 30% of the committee who would be silently observing the discussions. I got up and spoke once, but it was more out of feeling obliged to speak at least once, than actually having something insightful to say. That was the problem with choosing a country like Honduras... what in the world do they have to do with 'A Response to the Arab Springs'? Looking back, I really should have chosen a different committee. Some of the other topics of debate were HIV/AIDS, child soldiers and women's rights; any of those topic would have been better than mine!

The most interesting part for me, was that the format was a direct representation of the true United Nations. A VERY formal setting; you may never speak in the first person, you must always begin your speech with "The delegation of Honduras believes (would like to address, recognizes, agrees with)...". And then there are tons of rules about yielding your time to the Dias, never applauding (even at an applaud-worthy speech!), never referencing working papers.... the list goes on. It seems so inefficient to me; all that time wasted introducing motions, voting on motions, walking all the way from the back of the room to the podium only to say, "The delegation of the Netherlands yields it's time to the Dias". I would have preferred to sit at a round table discussion group where we are free to use whatever informal language we please, and where people can speak when an idea comes to them.

I'm glad I can say I have been a part of an incredible weekend like that; however, I think that might have been my first and last MUN ever.

The only part of the weekend I would never pass down is staying in a nice hotel with my friends in the downtown core of a beautiful city. Also, I'd never turn down an opportunity to see the keynote speaker, Justin Trudeau, speak again.

Even in between the midnight crisis- from midnight to 3am, where we had to create a resolution to a civil war outbreak in Somalia- and the committee session the next morning at 9 o'clock, I managed to hit the ice. A 6:45 practice, running on 2 hours of sleep... but there's nothing I'd rather do.

This team, just the weekend before played 5 spectacular games down south. Five games and only 1 goal against! Not to mention that all three of the North Shore Avalanche teams at the tournament- the Peewees, the Bantams and the Midgets- all brought home the gold. And in each of the three finals, there were zero goals against. When we say that Canadians know how to play the game... it's no lie.


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