Learning to be an Ambassador

Mary-Lynn Hearn ’19, Pace University NYC Model UN Head Delegate, representing China at the 2018 Geneva International Model UN conference in Switzerland.

This spring semester I traveled to Switzerland with the Pace Model United Nations NYC team to attend the 2018 Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN) conference. It was very different from any other Model UN conference I had attended before.

GIMUN took place in the United Nations Office in Geneva, which was one of the greatest experiences in my college career. Being able to spend the week in the UN with my own badge was something that I will always remember and cherish forever.

This conference had many firsts for me as a MUN participant. The most important one was my assignment. After a rigorous application process, I was assigned the position Ambassador of China. The position of ambassador is very different from the position of delegate in both the preparation and the conference.

Similar to the United Nations, the position of ambassador manages and does their best to make sure that all of the representatives of their country are on policy and put their agenda first. Instead of focusing on one committee and two topics, I had to research all six committees and 11 topics. It was my job to make sure that all of the delegates representing China were given assistance in their research and position paper writing before the conference.

Once we arrived in Geneva — literally a couple of hours after landing — I had to meet my delegates to hold a meeting with them to discuss the goals for the upcoming week. My week consisted of writing speeches, delivering those speeches, talking to the other Permanent Five Ambassadors (at this conference only France, US, UK, and Russia were represented), and managing my delegates. There was a lot of running around and writing speeches within five minutes so they could be delivered to committee. This was followed up by some tough Q&A sessions.

This conference taught me many things about diplomacy and what it means to be a representative of your country, both in the simulation and in real life. I think what I learned the most was knowing when to engage in difficult topics of conversation. This occurred both during the conference as the Ambassador of China and socials outside the conference as a citizen of the United States.

I also learned how to answer questions in a way that gets my agenda across. During the Q&A sessions, there were times that I was asked questions that had nothing to do with the topic. In response, I would validate the question asked and then turn the question into something I was willing to answer. Both of these lessons are something that will be beneficial to me throughout my career.

The  GIMUN conference provided me with a new outlook on Model UN and taught me how to handle myself in sensitive political situations.

— Mary-Lynn Hearn ’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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