Coffee bean workers, Bollywood, and inspiration from a world leader
3/24/2005 1:39:26 PM
Randolph-Macon Woman's College students are attending the 2005 National Model United Nations Conference (www.nmun.org) in New York City, March 21 - 26.
Thursday, 24 March 2005
I was wrong. I’m not sure that anyone could have been ready for the day that I have just had. My committee started at 9.30 this morning and was officially dismissed at 11:00 pm tonight. For hours, I’ve been discussing the importance of lowering the restrictions of sovereignty when cases of extreme need exist and the health and well-being of displaced people is at risk. I have argued with representatives from Amnesty International, the United States, and China on the structure of programs created to address the needs of the vulnerable and the interests of states, while respecting and, at times, redefining international humanitarian legal boundaries. I have wished that people would speak more quietly. I have daydreamed about my mysterious and glamorous role as a smoky-eyed, exotic socialist with high ideals and passionate commitment. I have recognized that this is only a daydream.
Today, I was incredibly impressed and rather seriously intimidated by a guest speaker that addressed our committee, Alice Armani-Sequi. I’m not certain how old she is, but she looked scarcely older than 25. I dearly hope that she is actually older than that because, if she were actually the age that she looks and had accomplished all that she has, I would have to consider moving back home and living on my parents’ couch in despair of the waste I’ve made of my life. She has been an investment banker, has three degrees and is now one of the directors of the tsunami relief effort at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and that organization’s representative to the UN. She basically explained how the Red Cross is structured and the mandate that it possesses to protect and care for those in need, while addressing key issues in humanitarian aid. After all of the high language and exhausting monologues of the day, her speech was very simple and to the point, with a clarity that I greatly appreciated. She encouraged us to seek internships with NGOs and, with her enthusiasm, triggered fantasies in my mind of my future life as a sincere and enthusiastic promoter of humanitarian aid and assistance, flying to distant locales to care for the less fortunate—then my thoughts turned to dinner.
Eating once again at the Indian restaurant that we found on Tuesday (this time we took a cab), we drowned our exhaustion in food and the sounds of the sitar player sitting on a platform, playing renditions of popular Bollywood songs. Terri risked death once again, by ordering her food “very spicy”; she did this before on Tuesday and was only able to eat a couple bites. We introduced Stephenie to the joys of kebabs and rogan josh, and, properly satisfied, we went back to the conference with a great deal more tolerance for the other delegations, content with presence of food in our stomachs.
By the end of the evening’s meeting, my partner and I had signed two more working papers, and composed, with the Third World Network and other partners, a paper on eliminating the roo
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