Burnett Model United Nations 2019

Sunday, November 3, 2019 at J.N. Burnett Secondary School

Dear Delegates, Parents, and Sponsor Teachers,

My name is Joseph Chien and I am honoured to serve as the Secretary-General of the second iteration of Burnett Model United Nations.

“Debate — it’s that activity that’s only for some people, right? There’s no way they’ll let me get started, right?”


“Political affairs — there’s no way I’ll come to like learning about something that boring, right?”

I assure you: that is equally as incorrect.

But when I started with Model United Nations, that was exactly how I felt. The least likely person to enjoy Model UN, I found public speaking terrifying, assumed everyone else to be unconditionally judgmental, and decided world events to be the least interesting topic to learn about. I did eventually attend my first MUN conference, albeit merely as an excuse to skip Chinese class.

Little did I know, that first conference was where all three of my assumptions were proven false and where I started my years-long journey of gaining so much from Model UN.

And now, it is your turn.

Delegates, for many of you, this will be your first time attending any Model United Nations conference. Indeed, this can seem frightening.

“Is this really for me?” you may wonder. “Will this be too difficult? Will I make a fool of myself?”

While standing up to argue a point in front of an audience can get quite unnerving, we must all come to realize that even the greatest public speakers and debaters started out as inexperienced youths just as nervous as you are. Every single person, no matter how terrified of public speaking they may be, has the potential to grow to become a leader of the next generation fully capable of pushing for the changes that matter. And this includes you. When you start to tell yourself that you can’t do it, stop yourself. 

Instead, just believe that you can — because we already do.


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Joseph Chien
Burnett Model United Nations 2019