An update from Dana, a sophomore international studies and human rights major:

It’s Monday, and today was our first full day of conference! Yesterday was amazing with the opening ceremonies and the speech by the President of the Republic of China. The political implications of holding a world conference here in Taiwan are so great considering its renowned autonomy from the fearful People’s Republic of China. So far I have loved this interesting city, and now it is time for the business part of the trip.

Blaine and I got to committee early enough for us to find seating at the tables in the front: half the room is tables, and the other half is auditorium seating. Sitting in this front section I knew was good to make a presence the first day of conference. This was the conference I have been waiting all my life for! I was so nervous; yet so excited! Having Blaine with me made everything much better.

As soon as we walked into the room people would come up to discuss the order of topics. We were seated next to the Russian Federation, represented by the Belgian MUN Society. This boy and girl are very friendly and I’m glad as Armenia that we strategically placed ourselves next to Russia early. Our allegiance must be known!

Going into conference we were hoping for the agenda to be set Topic 2: refugees, followed by Topic 1: indigenous peoples. This is exactly how it got set. I’m thankful we were on the list early on to speak because this committee is huge and the chair does really seem interested in being fair. I feel that Blaine and I were fully engaged in debate on refugees and were good at pushing our points on demilitarization of refugee camps. The books Chelsea Brown loaned me on refugee camps are proving to be very helpful as well.

When the first committee session ended I was relieved to finally be able to eat. We headed over to Taipei 101. Finally I enjoy some American food when I get McDonald’s! I am not very well adapted to live in Asia, as everyone on the team has already taken note.

We observed some of our committee members having a working lunch. This, I feel, is quite unfortunate. I believe that all work for Model United Nations should be done during the committee session itself and any outside time should be for getting to know other team members or even your own.

I knew going back to committee for the second session was going to be discouraging since nations were already forming alliances over lunch. Nonetheless, I’m used to this at conferences, and I wasn’t going to let it get me down much at all. What was getting me down, however, was the tiredness I still was experiencing from jetlag.

This second session seemed to go by in a blur. I was so completely tired, but I tried to be involved again as well. Debate continued as it had before. The only difference in this session was that the regional blocks all broke off to form working papers.

Tonight was also the night for the committee dinners! Thankfully ours was in our hotel, so I would be able to change and rest up before. Instead of going for the dinner part, since I’m still sick of the food here, Blaine, Danna and I decided to walk around and find something to eat at a bakery. I had some delicious sweet buns and mini banana bread.

MUN9.jpg Then Blaine and I decided to go down and join our committee. There are two Taiwanese girls from committee we are beginning to become friends with. After dinner we of course went back to sleep only to be rudely awakened by Nick – we had promised him we would go out for the social event tonight since we turned in early the night before. Thus we got up and got ready for the Lunar New Year party.

This event was so awesome! It was at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and we couldn’t believe the party was for us. The memorial was absolutely breathtaking and the party was outstanding! We decided not to stay too late, however, because we knew we had to be up early for committee the next day.