GDT20: It’s Up to You, New York!

Our delegation has been having a wonderful time on our Global Development Tour. We are just about to jet off from London to experience Rome, and the rest of Europe. From some of our delegates in the meanwhile, however, is a collection of thoughts from our first leg of the trip, in New York.

Our delegation in New York also experienced American Model UN format with the prestigious Columbia Model UN and Exposition (CMUNCE). It was a highlight of New York for our team, and they made a lot of new friends.

For more, let’s hear it from some of the delegates themselves.

LIBBY LORD: City Highlights and Landmarks

Excitement was at an all time high landing New York, with delegates looking forward to experiencing such an iconic city firsthand. Our excitement was well-founded, with New York being a city of many highlights – from the Top of the Rock to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the UN Headquarters. 

From the Top of the Rockefeller Centre we got to see the city lights and take photos in front of landmarks such as the Empire State Building. This provided an exciting start to our time in New York. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was a surprising highlight for me (someone with limited art knowledge). The variety and size of the collection was astounding, giving us the opportunity to visit rooms ranging from an Egyptian temple to a Japanese garden. 

Naturally, the UN Headquarters was a much anticipated visit. The opportunity to see the General Assembly and Security Council with our own eyes was incredible. I found it hard to believe that we were in the very rooms where resolutions were made that changed the course of history. 

I appreciated the insight that the 9/11 museum provided. With artefacts ranging from clothing to voice recordings, the memorial helped me comprehend the reality of a tragedy that occurred long before we were able to comprehend it. 

SUJEAN IN: Non Educational Activities

For every city visited in the Global Development Tour, a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) was assigned as a focal point. The SDG for the first stop of the tour, New York City, was SDG 17: partnership for the goals.

Fittingly, this first destination of our journey saw the establishment of friendships and a special group culture. Over the course of our week-long stay in the bustling metropolitan city, the delegation had the opportunity to immerse in various activities during free afternoons/evenings.

We were fortunate enough to have explored the iconic Times Square, watch Broadway shows, visit Dumbo in Brooklyn, and so much more. Many precious photos and golden memories were formed from the charismatic urban city.

An added experience in conjunction to completing these activities were the guided tours lead by Global Development Tour Director, Patrick. The delegation was hence able to extend their knowledge on the city and its landmarks. When on these ‘guided tours’, the entertaining commentary was always accompanied by a healthy dose of hilarious Dad jokes. This made the experiences gained a highlight for many delegates.

From the various culture-immersive activities, the delegation were able to obtain a personal perspective on NYC and also apply SDG 17 in real-life, as the group became a true whānau.

ADAM WHIBLEY: Educational Meetings

The delegation has been lucky to score meetings with a variety of esteemed organisations during our time here. First up was our meeting at UN women headquarters. It was refreshing and inspiring to have a young woman speaking to us from her position as a policy manager

We talked about the three main roles of UN women – the socially normative wing, the operative wing, and working towards equality within the wider UN. The talk was certainly engaging, and topical to our focus on the 2030 sustainable development goals set out by the UN. 

Next was a meeting with UNDESA – the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Our meeting centered around the affairs of indigenous peoples around the world, and the challenges that the UN faces trying to advocate for them while considering  the interests of governments and firms. 

Our final meeting was with the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the UN. A favorite among many of the delegates, this meeting focussed on how the mission works to translate domestic policies into international diplomacy, and how New Zealand works in partnership with countries that share many of our values. 

As representatives of New Zealand, we’ve been proud to share some of our culture with those we’ve been meeting with, thanking them for their time in both Te Reo and English. New York’s meetings have certainly set the bar high, and we are looking forward to our meetings in London and the rest of the tour.

AKIRA HURIWAI: What’s next for the tour

As we say goodbye to New York and hello to London, it is safe to say that the delegation will have our hands full in this action-packed, bustling European city. As a delegation we are extremely excited to be moving onto Stop 2 of our tour and into a new country with heaps of new sights and cultural experiences awaiting us.

From various educational meetings with NZ High Commission, CoGo, Grantham Institute, Royal Institute of International Affairs and Oxford VR to playing tourist visiting iconic sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westend Lion King Show, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe Theatre and Borough Markets – London is providing a plethora of educational opportunities and experiences of a lifetime.

Our goal for London is SDG 9: Building resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. This goal is extremely relevant to New Zealand as we move into an era where climate change is a real threat and something which we will explore through meetings, discussions and sightseeing.

Overall London holds a lot of anticipation for this delegation and I cannot wait to see what we get up to and what we take away from this truly beautiful and energetic city.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post reviewing our London trip!