Model UN: Growing and Going Ivy

Model UN is a club for high school students that helps improve members’ debate and cooperation skills by simulating the United Nations. On January 29, a group of seven students from MCDS attended a Model UN conference in Philadelphia hosted by University of Pennsylvania. For three days, in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, with 3000 other students from schools throughout the United States, members of Model UN had the opportunity to debate international conflicts that currently face the actual United Nations.

For those who don’t know how it works, here is a quick explanation. Each delegation, (the group of students from one school) is assigned a country, and either one or two people represent this country in each committee. Committees are groups of countries that get together to solve a problem by passing a resolution, or a paper that resolves the problem set at hand for the committee to resolve prior to the start of the conference. There are many committees made to be able to handle all different types of international dilemmas.

When MCDS attended ILMUNC (Ivy League Model United Nations Conference), our delegation was assigned the country of the Federated States of Micronesia and we were divided into 5 different committees. Ryan Finvarb, a freshmen who participated in UPenn thinks that “Even though our country, Micronesia, is not very dominant in the global community, we were most definitely able to take a lot out of it for future conferences.”

With only seven delegates, we were a very small delegation compared to some of the other schools that attended the conference. This shows that the Model UN club at this school is in a growing state. “It was an adequate number but I believe that girls should also participate. This year’s team, with the exception of one or two students, lacked experience, with the exception of one of two, the rest did not attend a previous meeting,” said Doctor Conea, the faculty advisor on the trip and the whole club itself.

The officers chose to go by assembling a list of the conferences that interested us, cross checking with any schedule conflicts, then finally presenting this to the rest of the club. From there, club members chose which ones they want to go and UPenn had the most people interested in it. After UPenn was selected and the delegates that were to attend was clear, it was time to prepare to represent Micronesia. To do this it was important to educate ourselves on the general state of the country. Then, read and study the two topics that our committees would be debating and attempting to resolve. For example Ryan Finvarb said he was “expected to research about the topics being cyber security and  foreign military intervention in internal conflicts.” With the help of a packet provided by the conference and the internet, we became experts on Micronesia’s standpoint on everything from cyber terrorism to world hunger depending on what our committee was on. With that each delegate wrote a one page paper on the one topic they had studied and submitted it to the moderators and chairs of their committees. At that point we were all ready to go and represent.

UPenn is not the only conference we are attending. University of Miami hosts a conference every year and we have gone there many years. It is an obligation if you want to join the club to go to this conference. Our goal for next year is to make this our competitive conference where everything we have learned from the conference we held and ones visited out of state come together. Doctor Conea, “expects that in the future, (students will have) a better understanding of what it is required from a delegate not only to attend but win at an Ivy League conference. I also expect a greater respect towards knowledge, in general, and specific knowledge pertaining to the conference, in particular. Regardless, I am very proud of all those who gave up their weekend to do work!”

Although the club is not too big, we are planning to host a local conference here on campus with about 10-15 schools. Last year, there was a conference held by MCDS, but because of changing leadership roles we were unable to plan it this year. Next year the officers will be more organized and will be able to make it happen. This conference will hopefully be larger than the first, more organized, and more of a learning conference instead of a competitive one.

Model UN is a great club at MCDS where students can practice their debate and research skills and immerse themselves in interesting international dilemmas at conferences around the US hosted by some of the best colleges in the US. There has never been a better time than to join now.