“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Ghandi
On Sunday, February 18th, 13 delegates from Kigali International Community School landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The sweltering Nairobi heat welcomed us to another conference hosted by Kenya. This year marks the 36th annual EAMUN conference attended by over 1000 delegates from 30 different schools in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Congo. The conference is a student-run organization held at the UN headquarters and geared towards exposing teenagers to the pressing issues of the world and encouraging them to offer solutions.
Nilikuja. Niliona. Nilitenda. (I came. I saw. I acted.) was this year’s motto. The desire to bring change to the world was witnessed during the rigorous debates conducted throughout the conference as we simulated the UN’s decision-making process. Our desire to bring change encouraged us to spend hours researching solutions and drafting amendments to various resolutions. The impact change could have on the countries discussed drove us to wake up at 6am. In a crowd of vibrant, young people, we managed to encourage each other and make lasting friendships. We acted on the fact that we came and saw. Time allocated for lobbying before each debate allowed delegates to approach each other for their vote. The goal was to get as many votes as possible for your resolution. Any amendments on resolutions had to be brought to the sponsor’s attention.
The thought of taking a stand and talking in front of hundreds of people terrified me. I had to constantly remind myself that this was a platform where I could be the voice of those who do not have a voice. Hours spent editing our speeches (in hopes that we would be chosen) made it easier to speak. Through all of this, the EAMUN experience taught me how to be an ambassador. Despite being a teenager, I too can be an agent of change. At KICS, we are being raised in a community that believes in participation over apathy. EAMUN is a tool that enables us to be active participants in the world around us. We no longer can be complacent to the issues surrounding us. Instead, we become world citizens, and the problems that our world faces become our priority. Being part of the political, economic, ecological committee or special summit gives us a platform to better impact the world for Christ. By caring more about His people, we are not just bringing the good news to His people, we are acting on the problems that they face, which is what Jesus did.
Each one of us left Kenya feeling the urge to bring change to the societies we live in. Change is what drives our world today. Our habits and opinions towards certain events are influenced by changes occurring daily. The change I am referring to corrects injustices that happen in the world, helps improve systems that are already in place, plays a bigger role in our world, builds our characters for the greater good of those around us, and most of all builds firm foundations that the generations to come will not fumble. Change is gradual, but we must start today, and it starts with you and me.
During the opening ceremony, Julie Gichuru, a renowned Kenyan journalist, said something that resonated with each one of us. She quoted Anita Rodding: “If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” EAMUN might sound like something you would never want to do, but isn’t life about taking risks and hoping to learn the best from them? EAMUN will help you conquer fears and give you an idea of potential careers you want to pursue, but most of all it is a platform in which you can make change. Make an impact today, inspire those around you. As Eugene Bell Jr., once said, “aspire to inspire before you expire.” The world needs you!
Written by Model UN participant Angela Kagabo