The Different Tongues of The Chronicle
by Yada Pruksachatkun –
In the GCIMUN, delegates from more than 20 countries have come together to celebrate the potential of youth and to explore world solutions, and The Chronicle is no exception.
Behind the articles in this website, there are people from Thailand to Sweden to Egypt. The audio file below exemplifies this diversity and collaboration between cultures and across boundaries, from the conference table at The Chronicle headquarters.
New York from the Eyes of Locals
by Yada Pruksachatku –
New York, the city that never sleeps, is an obvious attraction to many tourists around the globe. With its dazzling bright lights, surprising parks, and oasis of opportunities, it is clear why this city is such a legend. However, for the locals, the view is more diverse. For some, the magic of this city is still fresh in their minds, but for others, the city is not so glamorous.
When asked about the five recommended places, a New Yorker representing Norway listed off Central Park, Times Square, China Town, Bowlmore Lane, and Mongolia Bakery. She said that China Town had “very good dumplings,” and that Bowlmore Lane was for the bowling lovers. Another local, suggested Ellis Island, while someone else chipped in with “everywhere in Brooklyn.” Yet others find solitude and relaxation in Coney Island, the Bronx zoo, the American museum of Natural History, the United Nations building, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
However, for others, New York has lost some of its magic. An advisor commented on how he originally had high hopes in his move to Manhattan from Brooklyn, but now thinks that it would have been better to raise his children in a more suburban area because New York can sometimes be seen as “pretentious.”
An interview with a delegate from Manhattan and a delegate from Brooklyn showed the mutual bickering between the two areas. While the delegate from Manhattan humorously joked that New Yorkers do not consider Brooklyn as part of New York, the delegate from Brooklyn refuted with calling Manhattan “obnoxious.”
And yet even for those who is less positive in their perspective of Manhattan, the fact that New York is a place to make money and strike big in any industry is indisputable. The people interviewed agreed that it is advisable for tourists to be careful, as New York is not as safe as many may assume and that tourists should seek out more local gems.
by Rosette Evangeline and Arslan Tarar –
Big crowds, noise, flashing lights. All of these are familiar to anyone who has spent a modicum of time in New York City. However, these can be very unusual for those who have never been in such an environment before. Members of the youth participating in GCIMUN for the first time got a taste of this atmosphere. The Grand Hyatt hotel, a place of luxury and leisure, was home to the GCIMUN this year. High school kids from all over the world travelled to New York City to participate in this event. For the veterans of the city, the Grand Hyatt hotel was just another crowded place (albeit more deluxe than the norm). For the uninitiated, however, it was a completely new experience.
Not all the visiting people had nice ideas of New York in their mind. Some people, when questioned, revealed that they had concerns about the city. They thought that NYC would be an arrogant place. It is understandable of course, given how developed the city actually is. Their views changed as they spent more and more time inside the city. While not all of their initial bad views have changed, most admit to sensing a feel of magic in the city. The beauty of the city lies in how imperfect it actually is. There is no single dominant culture in the city. It has been shaped by a variety of peoples and cultures from around the world. People from outside the city are of course astounded by the sheer magnitude of both the structure and the variety of the city itself, but then they start to see it. They start to see the underlying beauty of perhaps their own culture and many others moulded together into a metaphorical bag of skittles, full of different colors flavors.
It is in this bag of skittles that they find their place in this new environment, Regardless of if they think of the city as a masterful piece of deception—or an enchanting blanket of many woven threads—the city definitely affects them in some way.
Photography by Carol Lim.
by John Ortiz & Inderjit Kaur –
Delegate life varies based on where the delegates are from. There are delegates at this conference from all over the world– from the city, out of state, and even out of the country.
Nusaybah Abdullah is a delegate who commutes to the conference from New Jersey. The delegates from her school represent Mexico and Ukraine. Over the past two days, she has been waking up at 5:00 a.m. meet up with her fellow delegates at their school. From there, they take a 30 minute bus ride to the conference. She says, “It’s tiring.”
Another delegate, Breana Webster, is from Florida and currently stays in the Grand Hyatt hotel. She says that it is easier staying at the hotel because she does not have to wake up that early. She just gets dressed and comes downstairs for the conference. In her experience, traveling around the city is a hassle because her group is very large. The city is very busy and it is hard to keep track of everyone. Most of the people have never been here before. Her group spends very late nights out in the city before coming back to the hotel.
Hannah Mirzoeff is also a delegate who commutes to the conference but resides in New York. She gets up at 6:30 a.m. and meets up with her partner. Together, they take the train to the conference. She sees traveling as simple because she is used to it.
The subway can be quite stuffy on a hot day, and the concession stands in the subway are costly. So delegates, make sure to bring a fan or extra money.
by Dara Gleeson and Natalie Towba –
New York City has an abundance of different food choices. These food choices range from Chinese to Mediterranean and fast food restaurants to coffee shops, Luckily, there are many good choices nearby our venue—The Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Baked by Melissa is a cupcake shop that sells miniature cupcakes and has received a lot of attention from delegates of the conference. Located just to the right of the hotel, these cupcakes are a popular topic. The cupcakes are bite-sized but decadent and delicious and loved by everyone. Every month, there is a cupcake of the month that everyone can enjoy for a limited time only; this month’s is Berry Silly Cereal. Cupcakes dipped in chocolate are also available for a more decadent treat. Tal Moriah, the delegate representing Spain in the Human Rights Committee, is a longtime fan of the cupcakes from Baked by Melissa and said that, “they are small but they are completely worth it.”
Common food chains–Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, and Subway, among many other restaurants–are also nearby. If you ever have a break to stop by one of these restaurants, enjoy!
by Carol Lim –
In the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters, over 2,300 high school delegates from all around the world, alongside over 100 staff members, gathered as Secretary General, Liz Alarcon, began addressing the crowd. Welcoming the delegates, Her Excellency shared her experience in Costa Rica and how her volunteer work changed her life. She stressed the “return of humanity” in solving world problems and how delegates should focus not on just the statistics, but the people behind the statistics.
Kathy B. Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation, then graced the stage. Recognized as Newsweek magazine as one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World”, Calvin emphasized that we need to act on what we see, instead of simply just talking about it. She then introduced Ambassador Jeffery DeLauentis, the Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs.
DeLauentis applauded the delegates in attendance, saying that Model UN not only informs youth about various global issues, but also acts as a “vehicle for future leaders to explore the truth.” He pointed out that there are many issues left unresolved, including diseases such as polio, and urged the audience to attempt to solve them. Describing diplomacy as a “multi-dimensional chess,” he reminded the delegates to respect the different perspectives when debating. While such a process may be hard, DeLauentis nevertheless described his diplomatic career as an “adventure of a lifetime.”
One point that was constantly re-emphasized throughout the opening ceremonies was the crucial need of involving our youth in international affairs. An inspiring video featuring the first-ever U.S. Youth Observer to the UN, Brooke Loughrin, highlighted that even low-level participation from youth is crucial. Previously a participant of Model UN, Brooke shares that she continues to practice the same critical thinking skills she has learnt. This experience as a youth observer has also helped her revise her view of the UN. Instead of being a static and bureaucratic organization, the UN has been increasing youth participation over the years and reaching out to different sectors like businesses and non-profits for collaborative efforts.
Finally, our keynote speaker, Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, then spoke on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Model UN he said, presents the opportunity to look at pressing challenges and find collective responses. Looking past 2015 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), he urged everyone in the room to come up with new goals to address the many pressing problems that still exist. He also encouraged the use of new media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to engage the youth and spread the values of the UN to a wider audience.
by Shelby Wilson and Mumta Mittal –
Fans of the television show Arrested Development will quickly recognize Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Stand, which has been moving around the city since Monday and is in Times Square today. The line wraps around the block for a banana dipped in chocolate and time to pose for a picture, but the 20 minute wait is well worth it, according to Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Maggie Herman.
Several Secretariat members used part of their afternoon break for the trip. “I don’t even like bananas,” said President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Austin Matthews, “but this was a pilgrimage I had to make.”
Austin, along with Maggie and Director of UN Women, Kara DeSanna, reenacted the show’s chicken dance in front of the stand, which Austin described as the “pinnacle moment of [his] life”.
The stand will be in Times Square for the rest of the day.
by Cassy Jagroop –
One of the enticing aspects of the GCIMUN Conference is that delegates and staffers come from all corners of earth to the City That Never Sleeps: New York City. The Big Apple has a lot to offer, from the iconic Times Square to the serene Bryant Park. These are just some of the many attractions that you can reach in a matter of minutes from the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
No trip to New York is complete without visiting the wondrous Times Square. Known as the Great White Way, Times Square is lined with dozens of big, bright signs are illuminating the latest Broadway shows and newest advertisements, providing the very light to walk by at night. From Forever 21 to M&M World, Times Square has something for everyone and is guaranteed to never disappoint. The Grand Hyatt has an easy entrance into Grand Central terminal, so you can hop on the 7 train uptown and arrive at Times Square!
Near the Grand Hyatt Hotel is the wonderful Chrysler Building. It was the tallest building in the world for eleven months until the construction of the Empire State Building in 1931. However, it is still the world’s tallest brick building. The building was built and specifically designed for the car manufacturer, Walter P. Chrysler. He paid for the construction of the building so his children could inherit it. The building is now used for business purposes, and only the lobby is open for touring. It is a stunning example of Art Deco style architecture in the city and definitely a must-see.
For those interested in more educational excursions, the American Museum of Natural History is the place to go. Its newest exhibition, Whales: Giants of the Deep opened in March and is open for visitation during the Conference. The exhibit focuses on these wonderful marine mammals as well as their central role in human societies over thousands of years. The exhibit transports the visitor to the vibrant underwater world of the mightiest animals on Earth! Other exhibitions include Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, which opens May 18th. Home to the world’s largest frog collection, the Museum of Natural History reveals the environmental changes that threaten frogs’ existence. This live animal exhibit can bring out the nature observer in all of us. Using the Grand Central Terminal entrance at the Hyatt, you can hop on board the 7 uptown train and get off at Bryant Park, then take the uptown B train to the Museum of Natural History.
If you are trying to find a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, Bryant Park is definitely the place for you. The park is within walking distance of the hotel and allows visitors a tranquil place to sit, chat, read, and just relax. It’s also a wonderful spot to take a stroll under the skyscrapers of New York. While at the Park, you might want to stroll over to the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building, or “main branch,” on Fifth Avenue. During May, there are three exhibitions at the Schwarzman building, including the prints of Mary Cassat. The main branch houses over 10 million items, among them “priceless medieval manuscripts, ancient Japanese scrolls, contemporary novels and poetry, as well as baseball cards, dime novels, and comic books.” The New York Public Library has something for everyone, from the bookworm to the artist to even the sports enthusiast!
Yankee Stadium is the place to be for any sports lover. The Yankees will be playing the Seattle Mariners from May 14th to 16th, and then they will play the Toronto Blue Jays from the 17th to the 19th. The closer you are to the action, the more expensive the tickets. However, nothing beats the smell of freshly cut grass and authentic Nathan Hot Dogs. All you have to do is get on board the uptown 4 train, using the subway entrance at the Hyatt and get off at 161 street.
The Grand Hyatt is centrally located to these sites, and the Concierge in the hotel is always warm and welcoming if you ever need directions or tips. They are always willing to help you with any questions and recommendations for anything concerning the hotel or New York City. As a former delegate and current staffer, I know how time consuming the conference can be, but there is always time for relaxation and fun in the city that never sleeps. New York City has something for everyone and will always leave you wanting more.
by Zach Wojtowicz –
Extracurricular activities, such as Model United Nations (MUN), are an excellent extension of standard education. They teach lessons we would not ordinarily learn and allow us to practice the application of critical thought to dynamic problems. MUN stands out when it comes to providing the perfect environment to meet new people and to form lasting friendships, making it an invaluable tool for the next generation of interconnected leaders.
In MUN, where success is based on the strength of relationships that one forms in committee, it is not surprising that many delegates meet lifelong friends. Not only are MUNers interested in similar topics—international development, diplomacy, conflict resolution, and foreign languages—but they also inherently keep an open mind. Students who enjoy embodying an arbitrary country’s point of view even if it conflicts with their own are more willing to imagine themselves in someone elses shoes. This openness makes it easier to talk with everyone in MUN, regardless of their background, and more likely that delegates will meet and bond with people from outside their comfort zone. Such relationships are often the most rewarding, as one stands to learn a great deal from those who come from a different walk of life.
Lessons learned as a delegate make it easier to engage with people outside of the MUN community. When you meet someone from a foreign country, bringing up the simple facts you might have learned about their homeland will form the basis of an immediate connection. For example, last semester, I ended up talking with a man from Syria for two hours about the current civil war in his country. I was up to date on his country’s history from American Model United Nations 2012 as the delegate from Syria, allowing me to ask informed questions and sparking him into telling me several fascinating anecdotes that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. In another instance, while travelling abroad, I met a girl from Russia. When she asked me to take her picture, I was was able to start a conversation by asking her views on the recent Duma elections. I had written about the event in my club’s international publication, and was again able to leverage the small outline of events I had put together into a discussion ranging from unemployable youth to the effects of western literature in Russia.
I never imagined that reading a background guide or doing research for an article would open doors to so many interesting conversations and relationships, but everything that we learn fits together and expands the network of people to which we have access. Confidence to share your opinion on issues of international importance grants VIP access to some of the most interesting people around the world. The experience of road tripping to conferences and sleeping in hotel rooms packed full of peers forms fond memories which only serves to strengthen the bonds we form. GCIMUN, as one of the most engaging and well organized conferences in the world, provides a great opportunity to jump into this social world of MUN. Take it!
Whether this is your first GCIMUN or whether you’re returning for more delegating fun, you have probably thought to yourself at one point or another, how did this program even begin? Thankfully for you, we here at The Conference Chronicle have gone back and dug up the annals of history of the Global Classrooms program, to find out where we actually come from.