An Opportunity to Lead

May 5, 2014

This post was written by Jack Ludtke, a member of Georgetown's McDonough School of Business class of 2017, who was a member of the International Relations Club delegation to this year's WorldMUN Model United Nations Conference in Brussels, Belgium.
I want to begin with one word that describes my experiences at WorldMUN 2014: awe. I was in awe to be traveling with fellow students who I consider role models, in awe to be meeting and debating important world-changing subjects in a place like Brussels, and in awe to be honored with the opportunity to represent our school. WorldMUN 2014 was the pinnacle of my Model UN career, and though I hope to have the chance to represent Georgetown for another three years, this conference will always have a special place in my heart.

The Georgetown delegation was comprised of some of the most helpful and intelligent people I have ever worked with, and they are far more impressive than even their considerable records and accolades would suggest. Quick-witted, kind-hearted, and determined, I was honored to travel with the people I consider my Model UN heroes, and as a freshman, I don’t think I could have ever asked for a warmer welcome.

My primary task as a delegate at this conference was to debate the issues presented in my committee. My partner and I were assigned to represent Mexico in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL), and for a week we debated the best potential solutions to deal with ethnic conflict in the world. Being a part of this committee was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in Model UN, from the way it was run to its delegate composition. The debate was lively and dynamic, and the multitude of international outlooks and opinions made the proceedings far more diverse than a normal conference. At the end of the week, all of our debating and caucusing came down to a vote between the four remaining sets of solutions, or draft resolutions. Although the one which passed by majority vote was not the one that my partner and I had authored, the debate alone was worth the effort.

The greatest lesson I learned from debate in general was one of leadership. Model UN is more than a game or a simulation. The art of Model UN requires not only speaking skills or poise, but the ability to negotiate, the possession of both assertiveness and diplomacy, and a certain conscientiousness to build relationships with those you work with. This activity teaches and requires delegates to exhibit the qualities that world leaders need to have. Model UN is the closest academic conversation will ever come to being real life, which makes this program a chance to test out different ways to lead and solve issues facing the world today. Representing Georgetown at WorldMUN helped me realize that leadership is a quality that not only this activity, but also this university, inherently instills in us; any member of the Georgetown community can exhibit leadership to make the world a better place.

This realization, along with representing Georgetown with my Model UN heroes, is something that left me with a profound sense of appreciation for our collegiate community. As a freshman, the way Georgetown embraced me not only enriched my year immensely, but also welcomed me in a manner indicative of this institution’s core values. The bottom line is that the thanks that I owe Georgetown and the International Relations Club cannot possibly be summed up in a neat statement or thank you; this WorldMUN experience and my year in general has given me the strongest of foundations for my collegiate career. I can only hope to repay this debt by doing my best every day to make Georgetown a place that continues to welcome people as warmly as I was.

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An Opportunity to Lead