The Real UN Experience



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Editor’s Note

Inspired by the objectives of the Model United Nations (MUN) and impact it had on Cassandra and Sarah, I asked a friend to share how her experience at MUN has brought her to where she is today.

Gisela Schmidt-Martin
(Gisela Schmidt-Martin, Attaché for Humanitarian Affairs, at the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva at the Standing Committee meeting of the UNHCR Executive Committee in July 2014)

Gisela Schmidt-Martin:
“I could hardly believe my luck when I was chosen, in 2006, to join the first team from an Irish university to participate in the National Model United Nations (NatMUN) conference in New York.

I had never before been out of Europe and, suddenly, I was attending a conference in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters!

The following year, I joined NatMUN as the director of the committee on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and continued on to volunteer at the inaugural NatMUN conference for secondary school students after.

My MUN experience strengthened my passion for human rights and social justice, and shaped my career.

Since 2008, when I attained a Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law, I have completed internships with UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Permanent Mission of Ireland in New York, and various NGOs in Ireland and Palestine.

Although we are a small country, Ireland is renowned for supporting overseas development, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Our experience of famine in 1845 has shaped our policies and we place a strong emphasis on food security and nutrition.”

Message to young Malaysians:

“My journey to this point has been one of a lot of luck and a fair amount of hard work. I would never have guessed, when I applied to be a delegate at NatMUN, that it would completely shape and change my career.

Take up every opportunity that comes your way, as the next person you meet or event you attend might just open up a new door to your future.”

(Photo source: United States Mission Geneva)
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