We pride ourselves on using the word “international”--international student, international school, international conference--but what do we really mean when we use this word? International. We’re so accustomed to hearing it that we forget the beauty associated to the word and to it’s meaning. Officially, international means “between nations”; as obvious as it seems, there is a more profound meaning to the word.
The fact that we are able to gather twenty five schools across six counties for this conference shows the magnitude of growth and unification our world is undergoing; despite our many differences, we are finding a common ground-- peace. As the Secretary General Felipe Felix stated, “600 people who come from diverse backgrounds but share something way bigger, a desire to change the world for good.” This beauty which stems from standing together, proud of our countries, but most of all, pride in our world, is a quality which only an international individual can truly claim as a reward.
Visiting us from Chile, Maria Isabel Alvarez is experiencing her first ever PANAMUN conference, with the honor of chairing the committee UNCSTD along with her co-chair Vivek Ivaturi. The school which represents Maria Isabel remains one of the oldest foreign schools hosted by ISP. Ten years of cooperation with the international school Nido de Aguilas has not only strengthened the quality of our conference but has consolidated the connection between both countries.
Although Nido De Aguilas attends other conferences such as THIMUN, Maria Isabel claimed that there are many differences which make PANAMUN special. “Here, the culture is so much different. It’s Latin America, people are very open and the culture is more familiar to that of Chile; however, something which I’ve noticed really differs PANAMUN from all other conferences is the intimacy within committees.” When asked to elaborate on this ‘intimacy’ Maria proceeded to explain that as a chair, she feels “more able to communicate with delegates... assess them and give them feedback”
Because that’s what PANAMUN is all about, it helps students gain valuable knowledge previously outside of their range of experience. It’s a chance for them to familiarize themselves with leadership qualities that are bound to help them later on in life. They are the future and foundation of PANAMUN. It’s about bringing fresh, new views to world topics, about bringing youthful perspectives to issues that happen all around us.
PANAMUN is a family, and, like a circuit in a vast circuit board, we depend on each other to ensure that the conference is happening as it is meant to. No matter the country we represent, we are here for each other and will always be. This is something which cannot be obtained through the size of a conference, nor the budget. It can only be achieved by means of passion for the cause, love for the people and a mark to make for the 25 years of history we hold.
This exclusive attribute that makes PANAMUN so special is what Maria Isabel noticed immediately, as she expressed “Panama’s warm not only in the sense of the weather but in the hearts of the people too.”
The essence of MUN is its internationality, but for PANAMUN, it’s far beyond that. The significance of our conference supersedes the fact that we are united to bring diverse perspectives to matters of global importance. The real significance lies in the connection we hold with the international students; the opportunity lies in our hands to understand our differences and champion them. Because, this is what makes our world so beautiful; the fact that we contrast one another in infinite aspects yet we can still find a way to cherish these differences and learn from them.