With every new course or experience, one can expect an array of challenges. Attending the 2019 National Model United Nations conference in New York City (NMUN NY) this spring and representing Nigeria threw some pretty significant challenges my way. At some points, I didn’t know if I would be able to overcome some of them.

I had participated in conferences that I assumed would be similar to Model UN in the past, and when a few of my peers recommended the course, I was eager to jump at the opportunity.

But somehow everyone I spoke with forgot to mention that it would be nothing like the conferences I had attended. I realized very quickly after the position paper outline was assigned that I had just jumped into a fire I had no idea how to put out.

As the research for the position paper outline began, I realized how many primary sources about Nigeria were blocked on the internet. For the first time it had to represent the opinion of another nation rather than my own personal views. It was more difficult than I had initially thought.

Upon arriving in our committee room, I realized I would have to get a room full of delegations that seemed to have no interest in what Nigeria had to say, to listen and take our positions seriously. This was resolved through intensive conversation in the informal sessions, using tactics we had learned in class.

I was worried I was going to hold back my delegation partner with my lack of experience. My partner, however, was always there to help, answering my constant questions or even just giving a thumbs up and a “good speech!”​ whisper at the conference.

For every challenge that I was faced with, there was an array of people right beside me to help, whether in class with the position papers, or at conference dealing with difficult delegations. The dynamic among the Pace students helped me overcome some of the challenges I was worried about throughout the experience.

I am very thankful for all support I received from my partner, as well as Dr. Bolton and the Head Delegates. They made my experience this semester and at the conference really special and rewarding, by giving me the opportunity to dive headfirst into something I had never done before.

– Ersa Lybesha ‘22