We speak of the value visionaries have in the modern world on a daily basis, but I sincerely doubt we ever truly appreciate their efforts; from their initial conception of an innovative idea to its masterful execution, we – as observers or, sometimes, active participants – take such dreamers for granted.
However, for the past seventeen years, we – this time, as the students of the ‘Vasile Alecsandri’ National College – have avoided making that very mistake to the best of our ability. Seventeen years ago, a random thought struck Mrs. Ioana Albu – our county did not hold a Model United Nations. Of the many implications that thought had, one was that her students were not allowed the full experience of belonging to a community which organized a yearly event she very much appreciated – a formal debate on current, worldwide issues which could unite representatives of at least twenty-five states in each of no less than eight committees to discuss and negotiate as though their lives depended on it. There was no such conference in our community. So she created one – and named it GalMUN.
The first year was largely an experiment – imagine the novelty of it all! Mrs. Albu took on the task of electing the chairs of the half a dozen committees which functioned according to a set of traditional formal debate regulations and had a predetermined topic and the one that didn’t – the Crisis committee, which relied so heavily on courage and inclination to respond with creative solutions for impending crises. Soon enough, though, newness morphed into familiarity with a touch of excitement – the conference became a household name among high school students in Galati and the delegates became even more competitive. The application process tested more and more skills with each passing year and the expectations for live conversation skyrocketed as every edition came and went – began with enthusiasm and concluded with the sole regret of it not having lasted longer.
After a decade of successful debate, however – an entire decade of wonderful execution of an idea the founder of the conference had had ten years beforehand – Mrs. Albu decided the show would go on without her. She’d be an observer, we all knew, but her name would no longer appear on official documents in succession of the ‘director’ title or lay silently on the diplomas the very best delegates would receive at the closing ceremony on the last of the three conference days. But that choice was the opposite of ‘giving up’ – au contraire; the founder of GalMUN left the debate to be managed by two wonderful successors, who have organized the two most recent editions.
Last year – namely, GalMUN’s eleventh – was as much of a matter of trial and error as its first. The committees dared change – either by switching directions completely or merging – once every few years, but that didn’t affect the quality of the discussions – whether it be on issues as widely dissimilar as environmental and military, the conversation always concentrated on matters of international security. Upon encouragement from their chairpersons and directors, delegates took it on themselves to conquer fear and anxiety as eagerly as they would an enemy country and converse to find answers to the ever-pressing questions of the world. This year, we’re rearing to go again.
The preparation process has been one characterized by an amount of hard work I’ve seen in very few places before, which can only be an indication of how smoothly the conference will go. Though we must acknowledge, praise for an event before its actual materialization could very well be leaping before looking long and hard into the gap, we are trying to bridge with a jump, the previous eleven GalMUNs have to count for something – they must stand as evidence that Mrs. Albu has created a conference designed for high school students and, if nothing else, that – it has remained.
Thus, the competitive history of GalMUN can say considerably more about what is to come than I ever could, but I will concede this – it is but an honor to everyone involved to know that they’ve contributed to a twelve year-long legacy and which will continue to expand – even after the current chairpersons leave the high school, even after the two current directors have yielded the place to someone else, even after the river of debate topics seems to have been run completely dry.
After all, we can only assuredly affirm one thing about our conference – its history is still in the making.