We all know that coaches maketh the team. But MUN coaches? Can they make a difference?
This week, TAS MUN delegates were coached by the best in the world.
Best Delegate, is a website considered the bible for MUN delegates and its founders, Ryan Villanueva and Kevin Chan, gave master classes in research, resolution writing, lobbying, and public speaking over three days last week.
“It’s pretty interesting to learn from the MUN masters. All of the people from Best Delegate were very knowledgeable about MUN and just political science,” says Victor H. (11)
Since Best Delegate was founded three years ago, both “masters” have taught MUN summer courses at Berkeley, Georgetown, and Yale and have trained thousands of middle school, high school, and university MUN delegates. Today, it has turned into a global education non-profit organization dedicated to helping students to succeed in Model United Nations.
“The only place that we haven’t gone yet is Africa,” Mr Chan says.
Before starting Best Delegate, Mr Villanueva was working at Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank, and Mr Chan was working at AT&T, the largest telecom company in the world. So what led them to quit their job and start a MUN business that is completely fresh and new?
The answer is simple. For Mr Chan, it is living the dream.
“Ideas are overrated. If you want to make things happen, you need to turn that idea into a service. We believe in lifestyle design. You think about the way you want to live, and finding something that you are passionate about and go for it,” he says.
But for Mr Villanueva, it wasn’t until he has gone through the process of solitude and self-reflection did he realize what he truly wanted: to learn, create, and stand out. He then quit his job at Goldman Sachs and started his own MUN blog in his college dorm.
As Mr Chan says, “Creating an organization from scratch and playing in an industry that hasn’t existed is not easy because the obstacle is just there by default.”
Yet, as Mr Villanueva says, “Meaningful reward requires meaningful risk.” For both of them, passion for MUN out-burns the obstacles that stand in their way, and Best Delegate offers the ideal synthesis of travel, food, and work.
But what’s more is the inspiration that they’ve gained from the students that they’ve taught. “It becomes really emotional and rewarding for us when we see that the students we’ve taught have become more mature adults,” Mr Chan says.
For many TAS MUN-ers, the three-day MUN sessions taught by Best Delegate here at TAS were really eye-opening.
“Their research and resolution-writing seminars are definitely going to help first-year delegates like me,” says Eric H. (11).
Another student Eric L. (10), who has participated MUN since freshman, comments, “They brought debate, sociability and public speaking together and helped me link my foundations. It was interesting and a great deal of fun!”
Mr Chan offers encouragement to all students who are passionate about their dreams, “Let go and feel invincible. Be your best self and success will come to you.”
Best Delegate official website