18 August 2011

A Meeting of Minds

I’ve just returned from Incheon, South Korea, where I had the absolute privilege of representing The University of Sydney Business School at the 2011 Global Model United Nations Conference (GMUN).

I’d applied to be a conference official at the beginning of the year, and after a lengthy selection process I received my appointment as Chair of the G77 – a role that entailed coordinating the positions of 131 Member States across four General Assembly committees. Over a five-day period, 600 leading students representing 54 countries discussed eight topics revolving around the general theme of sustainable development. All of us came together not only to build consensus on the issues, but also to achieve a sense of understanding between our respective cultures. I’m happy to say that GMUN managed to achieve both these objectives.

So, can the collaboration of Model UN participants have any real effect on the current state of the world? Given that students don’t have the authority to act on behalf of their countries at the actual UN, we can only be content with arriving at conceptual solutions for now. However, I believe this sets the scene and builds the necessary knowledge capacity for the right decisions to be made in 10 or 20 years’ time, when these same students are taking up key leadership positions in their home countries.

In terms of my own future, I ultimately see myself working in various roles. Initially, I hope to work with a private organisation (perhaps even a not-for-profit group in a developing country) trying to create the infrastructure and the economic framework required for sustainable development. But at some time in my career, given my economics background and interest in economic development as a whole, I also see myself contributing as part of the World Bank. For now, I’m just happy to reflect on my amazing time in Korea. Highlights of the trip? There were certainly many, although I have to say that meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was pretty special.

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