“Why did I think this was a good idea?”— Joining the Model UN Workshop for the first time
I am not a keen activist of any sort, nor will I ever get a participation trophy for being an active member in tons of clubs or societies. Yet, I still joined JyYK’s Model UN Workshop.
The workshop was titled “Rights to have rights: refugee flows from the Syrian Arab Republic”. Now, if you have any idea of the issues discussed in the media recently, you know this is a highly debated and discussed topic. Refugee flow and the amount of asylum seekers have been on the news every single day for months so it is impossible to have avoided the conversation. I was intrigued by the topic.
Still, I had no idea what the workshop was about. I asked the members of JyYK what the event meant. “Oh, it’s a relaxed event where we will discuss the topic like they would do in the real UN. It’s going to be fun and there will be cake” they said to me. The enthusiasm was admirable and catchy. Well, why not, I thought. As long as there’s cake.
A couple of days after signing up for the event, I got an e-mail declaring “you will be representing Pakistan in the event” with some information about the country and its policies. What? I will be representing something? I thought I was supposed to sit back and listen to the discussion. There’s no way I will be saying a word. I don’t know what to say and what to do, why on Earth did I think this was a good idea! I told my sister about this and she said: “That sounds like my worst nightmare”. I agreed.
Still, being the stubborn person I am, I decided to go. I had already signed up for it, I couldn’t possibly back out of it. Before leaving, I told my sister that if I ever got an idea like this again, she should lock me up in my apartment. She agreed.
At the event I quickly learned I wasn’t the only one feeling nervous and confused. A lot of people were there for the first time and didn’t really know what was about to happen. It can’t be that bad. At least I wasn’t alone with my thoughts.
Before the actual event started, the members of JyYK briefly told us what the workshop was about and how the discussion would proceed. In the beginning everyone should stand up and introduce the country they’re representing. With the help of the lovely members of JyYK, I wrote down a couple of things and stood up when it was my turn. I survived.
Before I knew it, the discussion flowed and the atmosphere was lively and relaxed. People were laughing but still, everyone seemed to have something to say. Even I stood up and voluntarily joined the conversation a couple of times. I was astonished by the enthusiasm the participants showed in the discussion.
I am glad I went. The atmosphere was relaxed and people were actually having fun while talking about important issues. It was a great experience and I’d gladly do it again. Next time I won’t even ask to be locked up.
Photos: Ulriikka Myöhänen