Most students have the unfortunate, yet natural tendency to completely engross themselves in the summertime carelessness. Rather than reading newly published novels, paying attention to science journals, or practicing another language, students instead prefer to simply disregard the academic pursuits of the school year. Regardless of why this is, the fact is: just because school pauses for the summer does not mean that the United Nations does!
Between June 1st and August 27th, 2018 the UN General Assembly organized over 66 meetings.
Not to mention all of the sessions held between individual consulates and the Security Council. And it is not just the UN: multiple intergovernmental organizations meet weekly, sometimes daily, and whether it be the World Health Organization or ASEAN, the outcome of these meetings can be vital to the state of our world.
What inevitably arises from this is that students remain completely out of the loop and fail to account for decisions made by the UN during the 3 months that they were away. From here, delegates completely block out an entire chunk of time from their research. For example, during a committee on the South China Sea Crisis, a delegate may argue in favor of an act which had been previously repealed. Furthermore, on a general level, delegates become ignorant in terms of current events. More than anything, this promotes a close-minded worldview; a trait which we here at All-American Model United Nations try to fight against.
So, what’s to be done?
Luckily, the solution is quite simple. Just like with staying up to date with any topic, it is essential for delegates to remain informed from a variety of news sources. The New York Times— alongside USA Today and Politico— feature UN-specific columns. These articles provide generalized insight into global issues alongside a deeper perspective from UN ambassadors or committee decisions. The United Nations also provides its own media outlet: UN News which gives regular updates on problems the UN is fighting separated by both topic and region.
If nothing else, students should take care to remain informed. Start small by taking out 10 minutes a day to read the headlines from major news outlets or your social media feed. Then, from there, you can begin reading full articles on subjects and international relations journals like the SSRN or SSQ. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that students should spend their summer months hunched over laptops reading UN Resolutions. Rather, as little as 20 minutes a day dedicated to keeping up with the news and checking in on the progress of the UN can accomplish a lot in terms of staying up to date and getting a headstart once September finally rolls around.
The bottom line is that students should always take the lead on research. Instead of becoming blindsided by a subject when you take up a committee, properly prepare yourself by remaining up-to-date and focused on current events.
Staying informed does not necessitate reading 50 page journals daily or knowing everything about everything; simply put, but it means addressing the responsibility to further your education on your own accord.
You will not only broaden your horizons but become a more enlightened and responsible person in the process.