The Importance of Participation

185630_10150096156173155_4859953_nFor many years women have suffered intimidation and discrimination because we were not considered strong enough to be recognized, fortunately, through the years, this vision has been changed, and some of us still fight for it.

I’m a Mexican woman that has been really lucky, because I have had the opportunity to speak for those rights, and for everybody’s rights, I’m a proud member of World Youth Alliance Latin-America and I would like to share some experiences with you.

Since I was 14 years old I loved participating in Model United Nations of different schools here in Mexico, I loved representing countries that were so different to what I was used to, and every MUN was a lesson as I learned the real meaning of respect and tolerance. But this for me wasn’t enough, I wanted to know more, so by the time I got into college I really missed MUN’s. I didn’t want that to be only a part of high school, I knew I could do something more so, in my second year of college, me and 9 other students prepared for 6 months to go to one of the most important MUN’s in the world, Harvard Model United Nations.

This was a huge step, I was actually going to meet 4,000 students from 48 different countries that wanted the same as me, and to learn, learn from others about their culture, thoughts, everything. I just can’t describe the feeling of watching 4,000 students with their flags up singing, and me holding up Mexico’s flag. We were the only Mexican delegation in that room, and I was really proud of myself, because we went there and we did a great job, no one helped us, it was just too hard to believe that 10 Mexican students were going to compete at Harvard. It was hard, but the reward was amazing. I worked with incredibly smart people and I’m still in touch with them, we became real friends.

The following year I was determined to return to Harvard and share this experience with a new a team, there were a lot of obstacles again, maybe more than last year, but again it was all worth it. However, I realized something this year; if I really want to have a team that shows what Mexico is really capable of doing, I should have a team that really loves the project as much as I do.

I was taking students that didn’t know what they were doing, because they didn’t have the experience of debating on MUN’s like me. They were impressed by going on a trip to Harvard and I know they will never forget this experience, so now I’ll take the project to dreamers like me and I’m not stopping because I’m a strong woman that knows that it doesn’t matter how many times I have to fall, but I’ll make a difference with persons that want to make it too, side by side. I’m an honorable member of  the World Youth Alliance, a proud citizen of Mexico and a woman that doesn’t believe in obstacles but in opportunities to be better.

By Mariana Salazar Alfaro,  member of WYA Latin America.