Competing with University Students at JLMUN

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Hi, my name is Michael Backlund

I’m in the Debate For Peace fellowship program and I represented Debate For peace in JLMUN, which was an International university level MUN in Jerusalem.

For me the most meaningful and insightful part of this experience was to see the difference in level, compared to the professionalism of the high school conferences in Israel. Although they are excellent as well, but it is hard to even be compared to the university conferences.

As a high school student I was overwhelmed by the quality of the debate and the resolutions, I learned more than I ever could have from a high school conference. I’d highly recommend every advanced High school MUN participant to try to be a delegate in a university conference in order to raise the level of their skills in negotiation,debating and resolution writing.

Other than the MUN itself I had a tremendous time with our Debate for Peace delegates during the socials of the JLMUN that we weren’t allowed to enter due to them having alcohol. During that time we (the high school delegation) went to eat in a restaurant together and then to our AIRBNB near the jerusalem central station and we played all sorts of board games.

This time together helped me deepen my relationship with the people In my delegation in this trip and get to know them inside out. I see them in my free time now.

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JLMUN delegation

We started our first day off with the opening ceremony around the topic of diversity and also participated in some workshops.

On the second day the debate started and from the start we all had to put our best on the table and start strong. An opening statement proceeding to caucuses, felt like we were playing Ping Pong with the motions between the delegates.

This continued for days, raising and lowering the placard and then raising it again to rebattle the argument made by the other side of the house. During these days, I learned the power of alliances, voting blocs. I mastered the art of lobbying and persuasion. I learned to detect hidden intentions behind certain acts and to use known rules of procedures to promote personal agendas.

The last day arrived and the final push occurred and then the closing ceremony came up.

The closing ceremony kicked off with a most authentic inspiring speech made by the deputy ambassador of the UK to Israel- Mr. Tony Kay and then continued to the award ceremony. Committee after committee passed and two of my friends won shoutouts, until my committee, the GA6 arrived.

The best position paper came up, which the person representing the UK won. Then the best diplomat award came up and my heart was beating.I have quite frankly never been this nervous about an award. They started to describe the winner and then when they stated that the winner of this award is 16 years old I knew it was me and I started smiling instantly. After they said my name and I ran to the stage to receive it. Till this day this is probably one of the highlights of this year and possibly also of my life so far. This as well like a lot of more things I have been fortunate enough in participating  would have been impossible, without Debate for Peace.

Definitely the most cherished MUN memory and conference that I have participated. My utmost thank you’s to the JLMUN secretariat, IMUNA, the secretary general and once again Debate For Peace.

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Called up to receive an award

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