By Alec Hoffman
As a student with a passion for international relations and a good debate, I was instantly drawn to Model United Nations. For the layman, Model UN, or MUN for short, is an educational simulation designed to mimic the diplomacy that takes place within the actual United Nations. Students practice debate, speech-giving, and writing to solve real-world problems; all the while developing leadership and teamwork skills. I love MUN, yet, to participate in the CIEE’s Middle East Studies program in Amman, I had to temporarily put it aside. I quickly became MUN-starved. I had an itch to scratch and only drafting a resolution on an international crisis could satisfy it. Therefore, I was beyond relieved to discover that Jordan has a vibrant Model United Nations scene. Although MUN was only introduced to the country around 15 years ago, dozens of conferences are now held every year on both the high school and collegiate levels.
One such conference, PSUTMUN, hosted by its namesake, Princess Sumaya University for Technology, conveniently took place during my spring break - so I decided “heck why not” and signed up.
I was excited to not only meet new people with similar interests but see how MUN differed in a country some 5,500 miles from home. Moreover, I was thrilled to be representing the delegation of Russia in the 15 member United Nations Security Council. No less, in a committee to resolve the ever-pertinent Russo-Ukrainian War. Retrospectively, the irony of an American defending Russia was palpable but also so comical I couldn’t say no. After all, who doesn’t like to play the bad guy?
The conference itself was held within the beautiful, albeit bourgie, Rotana Hotel. However, it was not the venue, but the delegates themselves that proved to be the most memorable part of PSUTMUN. Over the course of three days, I met not only some of the most competent and skilled delegates I have ever encountered; but also some of the friendliest. Committee itself was just as rigorous in the United States, but I noticed that debate was longer and more substantive. I owe this to the innate cordiality that resonated between delegates despite the usual serious-tone of committee. No one was afraid to crack a joke, no less, what would begin as a particularly heated debate always ended with laughter. Although, this never came at the expense of each delegates’ deep understanding of international law that served to carry some of the most absorbing diplomacy I have ever partaken in. Evidently, my daily Russia Today and kremlin.ru reading sessions came in handy, and alongside some major luck, I was awarded Best Delegate alongside the delegation of the United States.
This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I recommend any student studying in Amman to give Jordanian MUN a chance - even if you don’t have much experience. The people you’ll meet and the memories you’ll forge together will last forever.
I would like to give a shoutout to the brilliant people that hosted PSUTMUN. Without you guys, hundreds of incredibly intelligent individuals wouldn’t have the opportunity to hone their talents every year. In particular, I would like to extend my thanks to the president of the conference, Aws, for making time for every delegate. I would also like to thank the President of the UNSC, Saleem, and the chairs, Adeeb and Hamza, for facilitating such a fun and inviting, but thought-provoking committee. And of course, my thanks to the delegate of China (and my colleague at the Politics and Society Institute), Anas, for introducing me to PSUTMUN in the first place.