Model UN Taught Me How to Make Underrepresented Voices Heard

Pace University students Malissa Kelly (forth from the left, seated with laptop) and Curtis Robinson (seated to her left) representing Iraq in a simulation of the Commission for Social Development at the 2017 National Model UN conference in New York City.

Participating in the 2017 National Model United Nations conference in New York has tested my ability to work in groups. In a Model UN conference, you work alongside numerous big and small personalities. There always seems to be that one individual who tries to lead the whole group, which is very important for organizing a coherent strategy. However, if you are concerned that these types of individuals will overshadow you, do not worry. A great way avoid feeling overshadowed is to communicate with this person who has taken on the leader position. In doing so, you can help lead the group. You can also help those who are very shy be heard in the group. When the same person continues to speak you can stop them and say that another person who has been trying to speak has something to say. This helps the group trust you more, since you care about their voices as well as yours. The most important thing to remember is not to be discouraged. You are not the only one in the group that notices the hierarchy being created. If you work with the majority you will feel like more of a community when working together.

– Malissa Kelly ’19

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About Matthew Bolton

I am assistant professor of Political Science at Pace University and author of Foreign Aid and Landmine Clearance.
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