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Parli Pro for Dummies

Kate Kovachevich, Staff Writer

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“Are there any points or motions on the floor at this time?” These words ring out clearly at every single Model United Nations conference, from the Great Lakes Invitational in Kalamazoo, to the University of Michigan, and even to the largest conference in the Midwest in Chicago.

They are the first words of the dias, the last, and every one in between. To many, they are meaningless. To delegates, they represent imminent potential. After the first time they are spoken, placards will decorate the crowd of the hundreds of delegates. Points or motions are made by those anxious to begin debate and work for the rigor of it to turn in their favor. After the last time the dias’ famous words are spoken, placards still decorate the crowds of the hundreds of delegates who will relinquish their role as a delegate and reassume their role as students shortly. However, now points or motions are made by those anxious to begin debate and work for a resolution that will change the course of their lives.

When I signed up for an evening class that went by some obscure title of “Honors Model United Nations” (what did that even mean?), I had no inkling that this three-hour class would change the course of my entire high school career and shape the path my college career would take. Sophomore year was my first year of participating in Model UN. I went to one school-sanctioned conference and remember being intrigued with the way everything in committee clicked: the structure, the parliamentary procedure, even the diction and mannerisms of each delegate. It was almost hypnotic. There was not one specific incident about the conference that made me love MUN, rather it was the difference it made in me gradually then seemingly all at once.

 

Aside from some public-speaking skills I acquired (need to give a two and a half minute speech with two guaranteed questions in front of two-hundred people? No problem.), I was able to share my love for MUN with other students. When I was elected onto the executive board junior year, I made it my goal that no one would go to their first conference as I had: lost, confused and, at points, bored. Come senior year, I set the same goal and decided to take things to another level and push for FHC’s participation in a bigger and more prestigious conference: The Model United Nations at the University of Chicago.

The weekend of February 4-7th, eight FHC students were able to go. As I sat in the Disarmament and Special Committee, clad in western business attire (WBA), among 200 other teenagers, it dawned upon me that this would be the last time I would be participating in any high school conference again. I would not spend hours, weeks, even months preparing for the Great Lakes Invitational Conference ever again, a conference that I had attended three times now. I would not stay up until three AM drafting clauses or arguments to bring with me into committee again. I certainly would not be purusing through my closet for the perfect WBA outfits to pack ever again. However, an even stronger emotion managed to overshadow my nostalgia that occurred not even twenty minutes after closing ceremony adjourned in Chicago: a combination of nervousness and anticipation. The past three years that I have done high school MUN were all practice. Now in a few months, I will be off to a university, competing for its MUN team at the conferences at Georgetown, Harvard, and Columbia. After those end, I will have that same feeling of nostalgia only to be quickly replaced by anticipation because those are really just practice as well. However, that time it will be practice for becoming an American diplomat instead of a delegate.

So when the last question of “are there any points or motions on the floor at this time?” is said, when the last point or motion is made, when the gavel bangs and conference has been adjourned, it is not a “last” by any means. Whether they be the first words spoken, the last, or any one in between, those words are just another way to symbolize the imminent potential that lays ahead.

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