By Olivia Wolpe
Yellah Mentonminions, spring has arrived! The sun is out, bringing warm sandy beaches, budding flowers, singing birds, and a mind-boggling amount of work. That’s right, a classic love story: while the weather has morphed into that glorious temptress who drew us to this city, we are inside. Reading.
But this past weekend brought a much-needed break from all this. The Menton branch of Model United Nations hosted MEDMUN, the first MUN to take place on this campus. As a novice to MUN, I was intrigued to understand this cult-like attitude of those who have previously participated. Phrases such as: “France was so annoying today, I’m just going to align with Denmark instead,” “China, if you unite with us, we’ll ignore the human rights violations ” or “Yo, did you see India hooking up with Belgium last night?” finally have begun to make sense. The idea of merging international politics with young adult social interactions is quite an ambitious one. Yet, as I witnessed over the past three days, the two combine quite nicely. It was interesting to be around familiar faces, yet looking at them in completely new light. I watched a Norwegian morph into the UK, a German staunchly defending Israel, an American embodying the USSR. My committee attempted to renegotiate the war in Lebanon in 1982, while ECOSOC battled out the role of woman after the Arab Spring. Meanwhile the Arab League, as they put it, “solved the issues of the Middle East.” While some argue that this is just an official game of Pretend, to me it was a relief to see a concrete example of the politics that we have devoted three years to study. It was nice to see progress, to work on negotiation skills, and to view these issues through a new lens.
Needless to say, I am a quick-convert to these conferences, for by the end of day one, I found myself turning to Ireland and saying “God, I wish Japan would just make up his mind.”
So as we enter this final month of classes, I urge everyone to embrace what we are doing here and to remind ourselves that we are all here together. I have a renewed appreciation for this community and a new appreciation of this campus, for remember: even if we cannot be on the beach, we have an unbeatable view of those who are enjoying the sun.
Stay strong and shine on!
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