For the past 4 months, the School Without Walls Model UN club has met every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00am. Both lower and upperclassmen practice their public speaking skills by writing position papers and resolutions, and participating in mock conferences or “mini sims” in order to prepare for conferences throughout the year.
The first conference of the 2021-22 year was the Ivy League MUN Conference (ILMUNC), taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from January 27-30. SWW head delegate Jacques Dugué, senior deputy Kat Geislinger, junior deputy Erin Pollack, treasurer Alex Kirk, and secretary Jennifer Nehrer prepared their delegates while the staff of the ILMUNC worked hard to organize and arrange this conference.
During the conference, there are different types of committees, or groups of people who focus on solving the same issue. The General Assemblies and Economic/Social Councils are modeled after the real branches of the UN and how it operates, where delegates represent countries. The Crisis Committee consists of individuals responding to a crisis and influencing an outcome, while the Specialized Agencies are a combination of the General Assemblies and the Crisis Committees.
In preparation for this conference, Walls MUN was given background guides from the committee chairs that explain the topic, background, and sometimes positions of each committee. Delegates are expected to do their own additional research in order to familiarize themselves with these foreign topics that are usually not taught in school.
The SWW Model UN team left on Thursday and attended the opening ceremony that night. They participated in committees from Thursday night through Sunday morning.
“One of the best parts of Model UN is that you can learn about topics and current issues that are happening [or] already happened from a certain country’s perspective, so you can learn about the world from a different lens,” explained Charlotte Mendleson, a freshman and member of Model UN for 4 years.
Carlotta Rother, a freshman, commented on her first MUN conference, “Going to Philly was a great experience, not only doing the conferences, but it was my first big field trip outside of DC. It was nice experiencing a big conference and exploring the city.”
Throughout the weekend, students had the opportunity to go to a carnival, a concert, and ice skate. There was even a tour of UPenn to introduce high school students to the real college experience.
Sunday was the team's last day in Philadelphia, and to conclude the ILMUNC, there was a closing ceremony. Awards were announced during this time, and Walls has won a fair amount in the past. Previously, they received best small delegation, a number of book awards for thoughtfully written position papers, several best delegate awards, and many others.
This conference, nine delegates won awards.
Photo sent in by Somali Cohen, pictured in back.
Jacques Dugué, head delegate, first expressed that his goal was to introduce the club to the world of Model UN, especially the large number of freshmen on the team, and for them to recognize the fun of MUN.
After the conference, Jacques stated: “I feel like the fact that people have all of these experiences with us that they shared, that they enjoyed their time, they’re looking forward to making more speeches, more vigorous speeches and more frequent speeches, shows that they are beginning to have that budding interest in the world of MUN. As well as the superficial stuff like awards, a lot of people won awards which is super rewarding to see.”
ILMUNC was a successful conference, the first in person since COVID hit, and turned out to be fun and educational for the whole team.
There will be more conferences located both inside and outside of D.C. throughout the year, and anyone can join the team. Walls students who are interested in public speaking, collaborating with others, researching, writing, and traveling to new places will have a great time in Model UN.
“Model UN has helped me feel more confident in my speaking abilities, understand the way a real conference works, and taught me lessons in a fun way. If you want to get more confident, make new friends, and gain leadership skills you should join MUN,” suggested Gabi Goldberg, a freshman member in Model UN, “Waking up while it’s dark outside is worth it for this club.”