My Story, Fit Into 2 Countries and 20 Months Eren Meriç Tatlıer
My Story, Fit Into 2 Countries and 20 Months Written by Eren Meriç TatlıerAbout 1.5 years ago, if someone asked me how my life would have been today, its current state would have been the last answer I would give. I could’ve never guessed how MUN would change my life, also my life would change separately from my MUN career.
Towards the end of the 9th grade, we were a few students that were interested in politics and had an English level above average. We went through a brief training process with the help of two students from 11th grade who had previous experiences, who later officially established and ran the club next year. I was one of these students who everything started with for IKHALMUNC. As far as our trainers said, I have shown an outstanding performance but I really couldn’t think I could do more than what I have already done.
We have attended KALMUN 2016, I was the delegate of Denmark in SOCHUM. I didn’t deliver many speeches but I have written a resolution which passed with a clear majority, which made the chairs see me worthy of a mention award. This conference was when I met the most important and influential person in my life, Zeren, who we only knew each other by names at that time. I didn’t fully realize how precious she would be for me until we met again one year later, in KALMUN 2017, when our relationship formed, following the formation of “Siyah Ruj” by 3 days.
Months passed after KALMUN 2016, and the upcoming school year we have officially established our club with me being in the “Head of PR” position. We could start our training sessions by late October, and all we trainers had only one or two experiences. Later on, as we have become more experienced with our delegates, we had much more to contribute to ourselves and the delegates we have been training.
We have sent our first delegation to DENMUN 2016 in December. We have applied as 16 and got accepted with only 8 allocations so I decided not to participate in DENMUN so less experienced delegates could have a start for their career. Since I didn’t participate I don’t have any particular comments on the conference but I can surely say that the application process of this conference was when I learned to gather necessary information from the delegates and fill an application form properly.
After a long, nearly 7 months long pause since my first experience ever, and about a month after DENMUN 2016, we have attended to HASALMUN 2017 as a delegation of 18, consisting of 12 first timers and 6 delegates with one or two previous experiences. I was allocated to the House of Commons of Canada as Jean Rioux, a Liberal MP. It was my first encounter with HMUN procedure, which I couldn’t fully adapt to my first conference, however I could get the grip of “caucus” systems quickly (unlike how to write a bill) and by giving many speeches, and not being able to write a bill, I was awarded with another mention award, and I came to the realisation of the existence of HMUN system which I carefully explained to our delegates afterwards, and improved my knowledge upon after every conference I have attended.
After about two months, as IKHALMUNC we have attended to HPALMUN 2017 with another crowded delegation. HPALMUN 2017 is a distinct conference for me, as it was my first conference where I was included within a serious debating environment that could focus on every problem we have spoken about and was not afraid of divergence. I was allocated within EU-Turkey High Political Dialogues committee, as Selçuk Bayraktaroğlu, a Turkish diplomat currently serving for Turkish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and by writing many directives (that were turned into joint statements afterward) and giving many speeches, I was finally seen the worth of the best delegate award. Also, unfortunately after HPALMUN 2017 most of the delegates who have participated did not continue participating either in our simulations nor the conferences we have attended, which seemed like a partial failure to me. After this conference, we have gathered our delegates to share out concerns, and I could say that it was pretty effective.
Between the dates of 27-30 April 2017, we have sent two delegations to two different conferences at the same time, a delegation of 8 to BILGIMUN 2017 and a delegation of 4 to KMUN 2017. I also don’t have particular comments on KMUN since I didn’t attend but I BILGIMUN was also a distinct conference since it was probably the first conference that I was ever engaged in a rivalry, and could not leave with an absolute victory. I represented USA in UNODC, delivered countless speeches (so long that I never had the chance to accept points of information) and I have written two resolutions, which one of them has passed. During the discussions upon the second agenda item, we noticed we shared different opinions on the matter with the delegate of Nigeria. Apparently, he created a stronger alliance, since my resolution has failed and it was probably the first time I felt the bitter taste of failure so strong. It was still a pretty remarkable conference and I was seen worthy of the best delegate award once again anyway.
After BILGIMUN I was a pretty successful delegate with 4 experiences and 4 awards who have also raised many new delegates, some of who are currently ruling the club during my absence. Also, my application process for AFS that had been going on since about December 2016 had been concluded and I was chosen for the exchange programme, and I’d be living in Italy between September 2017-July 2018. Most of the things I did after we found out my departure was certain can be said to serve one purpose, of that excitement and the unstoppable will to do anything I can before I couldn’t do any of them at all for a long time. “If I’m going to leave…” I said, “at least I should make both my presence and absence worth, right?”
After a brief adjustment period -lasted about an hour or so- after we have heard of this news, we have started to choose the possible best delegates if our club for KALMUN 2017 delegation without losing any time. We were 14 delegates with various levels of experience and knowledge, and I was the head delegate once again. I represented Finland in DISEC, and this time, I engaged in a very obvious and sometimes violent rivalry with an alliance of 4, including the USA. The countering alliance has said that we would never reach the necessary signatory quota so we should drop our resolution and join theirs instead. Since I sincerely disagreed with their opinions, I refused their offer and have written a resolution with Saudi Arabia instead, which literally crushed the other draft resolution so hard that they asked for a revote a few times. This was when I both thought I liked this rivalry and it made me somehow uncomfortable since there were obvious signs of personal problems between the rival alliance and me, and honestly, I had always been in favor of keeping personal problems out of our so-called diplomatic relations. There were no best delegate awards given in our committee, so I have left with another mention award. This conference has been probably the most important in my life since it has contributed me things nothing could ever possibly give. I have acquired many new friends who later became a new family for me, the infamous “Siyah Ruj”, I have strenghtened my bonds with my previous companions and I have found -more precisely, came to the realisation that I have already found- the most precious person in my life who has been by my side through thick and thin as a friend and as a lover, cared for me more than I have ever cared for myself at any point of my life has loved me when I was right beside her, and now when I am more than 2000 kilometers away from home, from her.
The last conference I have ever attended in Turkey was IELMUN 2017, organized as a delightful closing for summer, and just for me to be in an organization with loved ones one last time before I left for AFS. I represented Chief of General Staff Nigel Bagnall in Thatcher’s Cabinet, delivered many speeches, and was seen the worth of another mention award. Also, it was my first (and for now, only) time to participate in a committee with such an advanced crisis setting. Towards the end of Falklands War our admiral from the crisis team tricked us by coming out as a traitor and serving the Argentinian Navy, but actually he was still loyal to his Queen and took control of the Argentinian ships patrolling the Falkland Islands to end the war for once and for all with absolute victory, so this was pretty much of a plot twist for me. Besides from the academic means (which cannot be left unsaid to be exceptionally successful), this conference was significant to me socially. It was when I realised how strong bonds and formations, such as our beloved “Siyah Ruj” The MUN community could create, what could we achieve and overcome together, how much did I enjoy the accompany of these people, doing what I like to do, and how to cook the best instant noodle to feed 6 people that share the same house. What we have been through together behind the curtains without our MUN entities is much more important to me than anything I have been through with the debates. They have become a family for me, maybe even more.
I left Turkey in September, and I have never been back there since then. I have been living with a host family in Sicily, more precisely a small town in Catania city named Paternò since then, and I won’t be back to Turkey until July. I completed the first 5 months of my exchange year, and I there are 5 more to go.
My last experience so far was IMUN, organized and under the supervision of United Network. The system was very unusual -which I intend on further examining in another article- and I often found myself wondering how am I supposed to even apply to the conference. I was successful though, and I was allocated with the Gambia in UNHCR, which was the only committee in the conference. It consisted of more than 170 delegates, all Italian except for me. I could say it was a pretty harsh conference with much more controversy than I could ever expect. There had been two main blocks, one consisted of USA, Italy, and Singapore; and ours, consisting of Japan, Canada, and the Gambia. Until the midday of our second day, I was pretty concerned that we had not yet debated on anything solid, and my concerns turned out to be true as we had completed the conference with no fruit of debates in our hands, and nothing more than a single resolution as a “concrete” outcome of a committee of 170 delegates and 3 days of hard work.
Now, I’ve -half unwittingly- take a break from my MUN career, waiting to come back to my home, my MUN environment, and to rise once more as our club’s president, and a missed companion of my old friends. Remembering the day some members of our club had cheered for me after we adjourned the meeting at the end of our last reunion for the year, I still hope I’ll still be as welcomed as I was back in those days, because when I’m back I’ll be as eager as I was to do my best for our club and those around me.
For me, being a delegate is not about just discussing agenda items and collecting awards, fame, and fortune; I believe it’s much more like a method of somehow finding a way to make yourself heard, to be vocal, even though you wear a suit or not at that moment. It’s about contributing to yourself and help the others contribute themselves, it’s about living your life in a constant state of the debate, a debate going on for everything we see, or not. About thinking, feeling, sharing, at least these are what MUN has contributed to me. Maybe these will seem as just ordinary comments, but I feel like I finally found a way to be confident, to stand up for what I believe, to help others help themselves and the others, to somehow simulate years of past and future experiences through your life in a span of only few days, doing all of these preferably in English, and to be impeccably dressed during the whole entire thing. Suits are an important part of this. Gentlemen, keep your ties above your belts, please.
Eren Meriç Tatlıer
Writer of MUNTurkey.com