They are yet to graduate, but four Bond University students can already add upholding key roles at a major United Nations conference to their resume, after returning from the life-changing experience in New York City.
Rose Lopez, Shinae Haidley, Sarah White and Amelia Caldwell , were among the 1,000 students from around the globe who came together for a World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) model conference in February.
Known as WIMUN, the conference was made up of 11 General Assembly Committees and two Security Council Committees, all of which were chaired by students voted by their peers.
The BondMUNs were accompanied by International Relations Assistant Professor, Dr Mark Dinnen, and participated in an accurate simulation of the United Nations by using the World International Model United Nations (WIMUN) approach.
Bond was represented on a grand scale with Rose elected by her peers to chair one of the General Assembly Committees, and Shinae and Sarah each selected to deliver an opening address inside the UN General Assembly Hall – a privilege extended to only 13 others. Amelia and Sarah were also awarded Diplomacy Awards for their highly-regarded efforts throughout the simulation.
Numerous topics were up for discussion across the Committees, with Bondies deliberating over
'Culture of Peace: Promoting social cohesion in multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies' and 'Coherence in Conflict: Bringing Humanitarian and Development Work Together’.
Rose, who is studying a Bachelor of Laws and International Relations, said the event was a life-changing experience enabling her to apply her theoretical knowledge and gain insight into a practical simulation, while developing friendships with like-minded people from across the globe.
"I was absolutely honoured to be elected as the 2018 Chair of the University Committee 1 at the conference, held at the official United Nations headquarters in New York," she said.
“I was amazed at how I was able to lead delegates to come to a consensus on adopting a resolution on the given theme, and utilise the skills I had learnt from my studies at Bond and the exclusive General Assembly Official Training I received onsite, to help successfully facilitate the conference.
“The experience has truly allowed me to develop practical diplomacy, leadership and communication skills.
“New York is so rich in history and ticking it off my bucket list really topped off the whole experience. I was lucky enough to see the whole city from the top of the Empire State Building, observe the Manhattan Skyline from the Statue of Liberty – and being Winter – strolling around Central Park in the snow was absolutely surreal.”
The team was privileged to be given the time of professional diplomats including the Representation to the UN of the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Australian Mission to the United Nations in a number of insightful and unique meetings - often difficult to secure.
Rose said she encouraged like-minded students to make the most of every opportunity and invest in their self-development and future.
“While the classroom provides you with the perfect theoretical foundation for International Relations, practical experiences such as Model United Nations conferences give you an opportunity to apply the skills you've learnt in class, and even open your perspective to where you may want to head in the future," she said.
“I am trying to make the most of these experiences so that I can decide the specific career path I want to follow in International Relations after I graduate.
“I believe in the importance of practical implementation of dialogue to ensure people around the world receive equal rights, and if I continue to follow this path and make the most of the opportunities available, I will one day be able to make a difference.
“I'm privileged to have been chosen by Bond University to be part of the BondMUNs team as it has truly been an educational and life changing experience.”
The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global non-profit organisation that represents and coordinates over 100 national United Nations Associations (UNAs). For further information, visit www.wfuna.org.