“More than any other generation, you have a voice,”

began Ban-Ki Moon in his welcoming address in the official opening ceremony of the 2010 Global Model United Nations conference. The conference took place between 14-18 August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and it was the most incredible thing I’ve experienced in a while.

Opening Ceremony © GMUN 2010

There is so much I could write about here. I could write about all of the fascinating issues – like global education, information security, and religious tolerance – that were discussed in various committees; I could write about the prestige of the conference, the incredible support from the Malaysian government, the extremely diverse and multicultural city that is Kuala Lumpur; and I could easily write pages about each of the incredible individuals I met and became close with throughout the conference.

kuala lumpur: a perfect host of a city

As usual, I don’t know where to begin. I’m sitting in a grassy backyard in a suburb of Chicago and am barely over my jet-lag from my long trip back from Malaysia. But I can still see the night skyline of K.L. through the glass window of Alfonso’s hotel room, I can still hear the immense amounts of clapping from tired yet fired up delegates at GMUN’s closing ceremony, and I can still smell the Nescafé coffee that we all relied on to help us through the long conference days and even longer nights out in the city.

What was I doing there? I was Head Delegate of the delegation of Turkey, and I was a member of the Security Council. While I have been both a delegate and a committee chair at numerous Model U.N. conferences, I had never been on the Security Council before, so this was an interesting challenge. And this year’s SC did a really good job – we dealt with the crisis that was presented to us in the first days of the conference through fruitful debate, the issuing of presidential statements, and the writing of resolutions. (I must say, as one of the few native English-speakers on SC this year, my attention to and love for grammar and syntax certainly came in handy!)

Security Council members hard at work! © GMUN 2010

Turkey was so well-represented at this conference, and I was so proud of my delegates! A true bridge between East and West, Turkey is also a bridge between cultures. It has a unique role in the political realm today, and it’s a rapidly emerging and strong nation. Representing Turkey at GMUN 2010 was exciting!

Turkey delegates!

But what was I really doing there? I was becoming immersed in one of the most international and globally-minded environments I’ve ever been in. I was being witness to – and living – the fact that we, the world’s youth, are the leaders of today, not tomorrow. I was giving speeches in front of hundreds of people, I was collaborating with my peers from around the world (more on that in my next post), I was cheers-ing my 21st birthday and India’s independence day over a dinner hosted by the Government of Malaysia. I was representing both Elon University and the University of Ghana. I was being challenged and demanded to work and think harder than I have in many months.

I was, simply, having the time of my life.

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