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CEBU: Student from Borbon chosen as one of UN’s world model delegates


Nina Zaira Montebon
A student from Borbon town, Cebu was chosen as one of the delegates of the second Asia World Model United Nations (AWMUN) for next year. Nina Zaira Montebon will represent the Philippines along with 1,000 other youth delegates from all over the world on the four-day conference in Bangkok, Thailand on January 30 to February 2, 2019. Montebon, a native of Barangay Bongdo, Borbon, finished her BA Psychology course at the Cebu Normal University. She is taking her Masters in Clinical Psychology at the Cebu Institute for Technology-University. The 22-year-old student, who is also a teacher at the University of Cebu senior high school, said she applied for the UN-backed youth leadership conference last month and was surprised she was picked to represent the country. As of Tuesday, over 17,000 youth leaders from all over the world had sent their applications; from this figure, only 1,000 will be admitted to join the conference in Bangkok. “I applied for it after I saw the announcement on Facebook. This could be a stepping stone for me as a young leader,” Montebon said. A delegate must be 18 to 25 years old, a student, a youth leader and has showed interest in improving the lives of their fellow young people. Montebon is not only a senior high school teacher, she is also an advocate of the mental health, as, according to her, that is one of the areas in the society that has been left behind. She is also a youth leader in Borbon’s Bongdo, where her father, Henry, serves as a barangay chief. But while it seemed easy for Montebon to get selected, her problem now is how to actually go to Bangkok for the four-day conference, considering that she has no personal funds to support herself. The United Nations only shoulders the delegates’ entrance to all areas of conference, but not their lodging and roundtrip ticket to Thailand. Montebon will need at least P45,000 for her four days in Bangkok, including her plane tickets. “The conference will be funded by the organizers. The delegates will pay the full accommodation and the roundtrip ticket. For now, that is my problem,” she said. She added that she needs to pay the USD 440 or the P23,760 AWMUN full accommodation on or before November 30 or forfeit her chance to represent the country to this annual conference of world youth leaders. Montebon said as a teacher and an influencer to the young people, she hopes to attend the conference as there are so many things to learn there, especially when it comes to inspiring new leaders. “In the school setting, there is something wrong with the youth, I have noticed. They have different priorities – they focus on the social media, how many likes they get for their posts. That’s what’s important to them. This could be one of the reasons why there are so many dropouts in school. It’s very sad, considering that we are talking about the future leaders of this country,” she said. She said the conference, with the theme: “Be the Leader the World Needs”, aims to improve the delegates’ skills on diplomacy, leadership and network-building. Montebon said she does not aim to change the world, but her students and the people back in her hometown in Borbon. “This is a good step for me, I have something to contribute for my students, for the young people back home. When I come back, I will share to them what I have learned from the conference,” she said. Montebon said she has been asking the help of friends to support her cause, so she can attend the conference. “I really need this. I have so many things in mind to happen for the youth, redirect their priorities to something relevant. As a teacher you see them get pregnant, suicidal because of depression, and there are those who lack the drive to succeed. I want to help them: redirect their lives. This is the best thing for me as their teacher. I can be there and learn, learn and reecho. And this conference and help me achieve my goal,” she said. -LGC

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