祝伯宇 | 国际关系学院
As time passes, I still cannot forget the experience in Vienna. It was a story about change and about courage.
This is the real me.
Living in China for more than 20 years, surrounded by Chinese friends, influenced by Chinese traditional culture-being neutral, I become a person who is not willing to show himself especially in the public gradually, or just say, who lose the ability to do something in the public. Although I do not have much desire to show myself, I still feel my heart beat fast when I think about the picture where I have a public speech in front of the auditoria in English.
I love English, and my dream is to become an interpreter like Zhang lu, Sun ning. Just as everyone says, an outstanding interpreter should be at first an excellent public speaker. Don’t live in lala-land! How can I make it without that ability? I wanted to find a way out. I desired to figure it out. A change is on the way. Fortunately, here came the opportunity-VMUN. I applied for this position at the drop of a hat and I got the offer. I told myself at that time ‘ No matter what, please just do it. Don’t care about it.’ I swore I would fully capitalize on this chance.
Frankly speaking, as I always told everyone I met for the first time in the hotel, ‘I am an amateur!’ This was my first time ever to attend such a formal international conference of MUN where everybody seemed like a veteran. Furthermore, delegates from China were the minority there, which indicated that either my allies or my competitors might be native speakers of English. That would be a big challenge for not only me but other delegates from China together with me in UNOOSA as well to form a bloc and then to be a leader of it, even to fight against the other side. I kept socializing, having conversations with them, adding Instagram, having meal together with them in order to be familiar with them. Simultaneously, I got my own stuffs done during the night to cope with the conference tomorrow.
Guided by the advice from our tutors, I finished my opening speech and my research on our topic meticulously. The first thing that I should do is to present my opening speech. To be honest, I was shaking, as was my voice, even I was just reading it. But afterwards, I felt better frankly. Then there was the most exciting part of this MUN-being recognized on the speaker list. I was told tens of thousands of time that don’t always yield the time back to the chair without saying anything and I WOUNDN’T DO THAT!
From my point of view, everything changed when the delegate of France challenged me. Without any hesitation, I responded to her once I was recognized on the list. I was shocked by myself for having such a aggressive and assertive respond nearly at a fraction of seconds. I began to realize that may be I still had this protential. So let’s do this. Since then, it seemed like I was injected into some magic power. All of my worries and fears disappeared at a sudden. As far as I recollect, I was the target challenged by others at the beginning, but then I started to question other delegates gradually and assistanted my allies who were under ‘attack’ in order to protect them.
However, my small step didn’t become the giant leap for our bloc. Just as I mentioned before, most of the delegates took English as their first language or spoke it as good as native speakers. We counldn’t blame it but it was difficult at first. The delegate of Japan motioned for an unmoderated caucus, during which she kept talking without any concern for us-delegates who are not native speakers of English. We did not get a single chance to get involved.
At the end of the day, we were back to hotel disruptedly. I was thinking that if we compromised we would lose the conference as well as the chance to train ourselves. Hence, I called for a meet with my allies to deliberate over the scheme for tomorrow. Eventually, I volunteered to negotiate with all the delegates who was neglected and rallied them to stay with us.
I was one of the delegates who came to the conference room earliest. Then I started to mediate those delegates because of the similarity we all had, including delegates of India, Egypt, Albania, Turkey etc, who are from United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Ukraine and some third world countries, by mentioning the unpleasant experience yesterday. I said ‘ They tried to isolate us from the topic. If we did not want to be out of the table, we must be allied and vote against their unmoderated caucus and keep the topic within the moderated caucus. So that we could get a position!’ I have to say that it worked. During the whole morning, not even a single motion delivered from them was agreed. My strategy succeeded! Any time when my allies motioned for a suggestion, we were all going to support them. We had our own working paper and draft resolution. Although the members in our bloc were not powerful or fully armed, we could get the best out of the number which outstripped theirs to restrict their movement. That was really meaningful. They, the opposite side, almost consisted of men and women from western Europe, America or Australia, compromised. They apologized to us about ignoring us the other day and requested us to make a combination of both our and their draft resolution-that was what we would like to see. After positive argument and on this document and bilateral compromise, our ideas were integrated to both side’s expectation.
That’s the whole story. I have to say that I learned a lot. I used to be taciturn, being silent where there is a row even everyone speaks Chinese, nevertheless, I became a key delegate during the conference, from being challenged to challenging others in English, which was a giant progress.
As soon as I was recognized as one of the three sponsors to deliver the Draft Resolution, I had an acute feeling relating to our former-generation diplomats who dedicated themselves to China with all their hearts with the aim of restoring the licit status of China in United Nations. Faced with denouncement from imperialism, they did not give in and rallied friends, supporters, or even ‘enemies’, influencing them with justice, touching them with Chinese traditional virtue which enables people to accommodate each other and value which is harmony without uniformity, calling for seeking common ground while reserving differences and multilateralism, by which mean China took steps into UN once again, persevering in relying on recognition from most of delegates. I DID THE SAME. And I was very proud of that. As a Chinese student, although not the delegate of China, I put their strategy and spirit fully into effect to fight for our interests and position. I cannot help myself admiring them from my bottom of my heart with every fibre of my being. From my viewpoint, the westerners, may be, powerful and mighty, so to say, they are born to appreciate power and respect those who are powerful as well. But, if you give them an inch, they will take a yard and bully you all the time. So the only way to draw their attention and win their heart is to show that you are strong as same as they are no matter what you have. In this way, regardless of the result, they will respect you.
Apart from that, another thing that I learned was that you must strive for democracy and freedom but not ask. Just I mentioned before, they controlled the caucus and tried to direct the conference. In my opinion, their so-called democracy is just like this: you are allowed to speak, but we don’t care. You are allowed to give your own idea, but we will not give you the chance. So we must FIGHT to take our own floor.
It was truly a far-reaching experience. Apart from being braver, I also made lots of friends all over the world from UAE, Germany, Georgia and so on. We knew each other better and eliminated some mismatches end misunderstandings in a large measure through our conversations when we had smoking breaks.
We just talked like brothers and sisters without caring about races, nations or languages as if there were no barriers. I really love and treasure that feeling. It seemed like that was why we came together. Getting involved in local community, having conversations with them, telling your own story, expressing your point of view based on your culture, or else, you are wasting time. Fortunately, I did this throughout the conference, which will be helpful for me to get involved in local community at board in the future. Things should go like this, since WE SHARE THE SAME WORLD.
The time when I was shocked to learn that I was awarded the Honorary Mention, I was excited and grateful and bewildered at that time. Just as what I said to people in my committee, including chair, vice chair, delegates from both parties, I couldn’t be there without your support, challenges and understanding. In a word, thank you for supporting me so much. I never thought about receiving such a honorable title and I just wanted to train myself and changed the old me, but I obtained more than my expectation.
Most essentially, the atmosphere we shared there is actually what I have been pursuing for ages, in which there will be no discrimination and unfairness, permeating harmony and peace. And I think that’s the significance of UN as well as the reason why we were there. Everyone is responsible for everyone of everything. We are all human fellows so we should join hands together on the basis of the past achievement no matter who you are, what’s your race or where you come from.
My final words will still and always be thank you. I made a clearer definition of myself. It helped me make up my mind to go aboard for study no matter what it will cost. I wrote this on my Wechat moment and Instagram: It seems like dancing in the dark, alone, but not lonely. It is some paths that you have to go through on you own and I will fear it no more, because I know I have the ability to encounter it.
It still occurs to me and reminds me that I was once a diplomat..
‘ Delegate of Iran, you have been recognized and you will have the floor..’
This irreplaceable period of time will forever be kept fresh in my mind.