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A Review of MUN’s New York Trip

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A Review of MUN’s New York Trip

 

First of all, what is MUN?

MUN, or Model United Nations, is an academic club among middle schools, high schools, and universities worldwide. Therefore, we simulate the activity of the true peacekeeping organization. At conferences, each individual is a delegate, representing a country’s stance on pressing global issues. MUN uses parliamentary procedure*, the rules of order present in government and business. Delegates give speeches and maintain diplomatic behavior; they are judged on their performance and could win awards. The goal is to propose and pass solutions to the conflict at hand.

 

Last week, I went on a trip to New York City with 5 other Los Al students: Ruben Ramirez, Kaitlyn Wong, Kayhan Bakian, Ashley Robinson, and Justin Huckins. We attended New York University’s MUN conference with our club advisor, Ms. Kibtya. Here is an overview of our trip:

 

7 December 2017, Thursday, Day 1 – Visiting the UN & Times Square

We arrived before the sunrise after an exhausting red-eye flight. The 39 degree weather woke us all up immediately. After a traffic-filled ride, we dropped our bags off at our hotel. Situated in Chinatown bordering Little Italy, there were live fish and fresh fruit markets along the block. We ate bagels at a cute retro-style cafe for breakfast. They also had lox, “sassy salmon”, and whitefish salad, among other jewish delicacies; it was our first encounter of Jewish-American traditions. Later on, we visited the UN building. It is part of the international community, and as such, the city doesn’t have jurisdiction over it; it has its own police force and postal system.

We went on a tour of the building and saw the various parts of the organization, like the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the General Assembly. The tour guide spoke weighty issues like land mine removal, the global military budget compared to the global peacekeeping budget*, and the damage of nuclear weapons.

Walking around the famed Times Square, notable sights included advertisements for Spongebob the Musical, Impeach Trump billboards, and a creepy pack of Sesame Street characters.

Throughout the trip, I didn’t once feel threatened in any way. Coming into the city with the stereotypes about criminal activity (mostly from crime shows), I was on guard. However, I was surprised and thought, perhaps it is increasingly safer in the city and our generalizations are false. The morning after we arrived home, I was proven wrong when I saw the news about a pipe bomb in a Times Square subway station. Crime is still a byproduct of the densely-packed population of the city.

By the end of the extended day – arriving at 5 in the morning until 1 AM the next day – we had walked a total of 15 miles.

 

8 December, 2017 – Friday, Day 2 – Central Park

As we entered Central Park, we came across a congregation of John Lennon fans at Strawberry Fields.

We took way too many photos and admired the winter scenery. Most trees were bare, but some yellow leaves remained. It wasn’t the green image we had in mind of the park, but it was still beautiful. Ashley and I attempted ice skating for the first time and were proud that we didn’t fall. We started our first full day of MUN at 1:30 and finished at 10:30. Most of the trip pivoted around Washington Park, with many of the university’s classrooms surrounding the rectangular park. There was a lot of activity around the “campus” (NYU’s classrooms are scattered around the city). We noticed an art installation under the park’s central arch entitled “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. It was created by artist Ai Weiwei and is a reference to the refugee crisis and border control. Furthermore, we saw peaceful demonstrators with signs reading “Peace” and “Jews Standing with Muslims” in light of the appointment of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The area is filled with trendy restaurants and minimalist cafes. Two of us attempted to get scoops of cookie dough from a shop called DO, but the line started across the street. We went to a french cafe instead, where macaron-making lessons were in session.

 

9 December, 2017 – Saturday, Day 3 – Snow!

We woke up to the first snow of the season. For many of us, it was our first time seeing falling snow. Our first stop was the September 11 Memorial, in which we gave a moment of silent respect. Next we marched up the icy Brooklyn Bridge where we were rewarded with a lovely view. I was amazed by a New Yorker who was effortlessly jogging over the slippery path in minimal layers of clothing.

On the subway ride to the hotel, we had a desperate craving for ice cream. We had 15 minutes to get to a shop, so we ran along the icy sidewalks, nearing midnight. We arrived too late – we missed that cold treat by seconds.

 

10 December, 2017 – Sunday, Day 4 – Leaving

We slept in a bit and attended our last committee session, followed by an awards ceremony in a room where Alec Baldwin was married. Some college students said that Emma Watson had just filmed something in the park the previous week, which they were able to watch through the classroom window. We got Dunkin Donuts at the airport and Ashley, Kaitlyn and I were excited to find another MUJI store, basically a higher end Daiso.

 

New York truly lived up to its expectations. Life filled every hour of the day and night. I am very grateful to Losal MUN for this experience – our hardworking and loving advisor, our accomplished Secretariat board, and our supportive Booster Club. Getting to know not only the cosmopolitan city but also my fellow students made it an unforgettable trip.

 

A final note about our country’s relationship with the UN:

Nikki Haley is our United States Ambassador to the United Nations; she represents our interests at the UN. Our administration has shown its opposition to the UN with actions such as withdrawing from UNESCO due to anti-Israel sentiments and refusing to join the Paris Climate Accord of 2016, making us the last country not part of the agreement. ___

 

Check out these links for more information:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/education/edlife/a-new-student-run-breed-crisis-oriented-and-fiercely-competitive.html

For more history of MUN and NYU’s first conference.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57054d648a65e245a3dbf046/t/5a2b58fd8165f544a08c015a/1512790270762/Gazette2.2.pdf

NYU’s “slightly satirical” newspaper (where my James Bond themed committee is featured).

*https://www.un.org/disarmament/over-armed/

Visual comparison of military spending vs. peace spending and a daily counter of worldwide military spending.

Samantha Reinard, Copy Editor

Hi! I am Samantha Reinard, a senior here at Los Al. I enjoy cooking, hiking, and travelling.

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A Review of MUN’s New York Trip