It’s Your World
Admittedly, I have not been doing my best with blogging lately. Like everyone else you know, I’ve been busy. This week’s excuse: Model United Nations.
I always learn a lot from Model UN conferences. Obviously I learn about whatever country I am representing and the topics for discussion within my committee. But I also learn from the people I meet and the experiences I have. What I love best is that Model UN conferences seem to inherently draw an international crowd. This weekend I learned the basics of Irish dance and Swahili greetings; I was introduced to Thai food and Spanish rap music.
This international flair makes Model UN a little difficult. Despite our best attempts, we can’t always understand the perspectives of other people and other countries. At one point in second committee I found myself working on a draft resolution as a delegate representing the United Arab Emirates with my delegation partner, who is from the Netherlands. And we were working with the delegate representing Qatar, who is from Kenya (he is the one who taught me a bit of Swahili). It was quite the geographic medley: the three of us are from three different continents all doing our best to act from the perspective of the Arab league, foreign to us all.
In another scenario, our committee was in a caucus during plenary session working on a resolution amendment. An American student representing Columbia spoke about the ‘Columbian’ perspective on the amendment. The Iranian delegate (who is really from Uruguay) turned to me and said that her statements were blatantly out of character, that Columbia would never vote that way. But being from South America, he had an advantage in understanding that the American could not relate to; he had the benefit of personal experience.
While these experiences are more of the international variety, there are also plenty of new experiences to be had within my own country. Over the weekend I went out to dinner with a friend of mine from study abroad who introduced me to cream soda. Seriously, I had never had cream soda before (loved it)!
Every person lives a life rich in experience. These experiences are all different, among people from the same country or even the same city. I’ve come to realize that everyone has something to teach me. I may never be able to fully and completely understand the perspective of another. Maybe the best I can hope for is a meaningful and informed appreciation of his perspective. All I have to do is indulge a genuine curiosity in the human experience and open myself to the unfamiliar around me.