Opening ceremonies, advice and admonitions, and the $8 grilled cheese
3/22/2005 1:51:45 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, 22 March 2005
Today, the delegation woke up and had a meeting at 9:30 in the morning. Dr. Abbassi handed out our conference schedules and information packets and also gave us our identification badges (with stern warnings not to wear them outside of the hotel; we might look like tourists, but then I suppose that even without the badges, the frantic picture-taking betrays our identities immediately). As the opening ceremony at the United Nations General Assembly Hall (!) didn’t start until 4:00 PM, we had the afternoon free. Terry, one of my roommates, and I took the subway down to Chinatown. Well, that’s not entirely correct. We actually took the wrong subway, ended up on Coney Island, and then took another subway to somewhere in the general vicinity of Chinatown.
We did eventually arrive, however, and after being assaulted by the delicious smells of food coming from the shops and stalls around Canal Street, we promptly sat down to eat some food in a tiny little restaurant whose name we could not read. The food, though, was fantastic and we drank many cups of hot tea before embarking on our search for souvenirs and other things that we absolutely did not need and yet felt compelled to purchase.
During the course of our three-hour exploration of Chinatown, we met up with one of the other delegates, ate even more food (we couldn’t resist), and then finished it off with some excellent green tea ice cream. We returned to the hotel to change into respectable business attire and meet with the rest of the delegation to walk to the UN. A bit tardy, we emerged from our room with a few other members of the delegation, only to find that the rest of the group had left and we were stranded. This was the motivation behind the mad, six-girl, mock-businesswomen marathon that was run in order to reach the UN in time for the ceremony.
Once there, understandably out of breath, yet still excited, we entered into the building where countless diplomats and world leaders have walked and were, naturally, in awe. We were seated among 1,500 other delegates from across the world, only half of the over 3,000 delegates present at this conference. After the introductions of the conference staff, a key note speaker, Gillian Sorensen, an alumna of Smith College, addressed us and spoke about the unique way in which world governments and the UN can work together to increase the peace and happiness of the entire global community. Particularly interesting to our delegation, as we are representing the organization Socialist International, was the statement she made about the effects that non-governmental organizations might have in influencing states to be transparent and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the UN. After encouraging us to be diligent in our work in the conference and in our future international careers, Ms. Sorensen sent us off to begin the week’s work.
As we had a dinner break between the opening ceremony and the first committee sessions of the conference, our delegation decided to walk down to th
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