Thursday, May 24, 2018

Model UN experiences successful weekend at UPenn



At 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, committee chairs banged their gavels and brought to fruition the start of UPenn Model United Nations Conference XLVIII. Delegates from colleges and universities across the country sat in conference rooms at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Philadelphia, dressed to the nines and prepared to address some of the world’s most pressing issues nearly non-stop until Sunday afternoon.

Committees such as DISEC, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Legal Committee, and the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee were called to order with the end goal of collectively passing resolutions that would provide solutions to major international crises. In such committees, students advocated for the positions of their assigned countries on a plethora of controversial subjects like foreign military intervention, capital punishment, international economic stability, aid to developing nations, cyber security, women’s rights, world hunger, and an assortment of environmental issues.

To effectively participate, delegates are required to showcase persuasive public speaking skills, dexterous collaborative tendencies, and a voluminous knowledge base regarding not only their issues of their country, but also those of their allies and enemies, in an equally wide chronological array. With the aforementioned topics in mind, delegates employed their skills to help build what are considered the crown jewels of conference culture, namely, resolutions that provide comprehensive policy propositions that seek to solve each committee’s matter at hand.

Among the hundreds of capable students who attended from schools such as Harvard, Yale, West Point, and Mount Holyoke, were eleven young Bantam delegates, many of whom were attending their first ever Model United Nations conference, and none of whom were even in their third year. Despite this relative lack of experience, the students representing Trinity College performed admirably in employing their skills and preparation and contributing to many final resolutions, which were voted into legitimacy by their peers.

Enjoying the pageantry of a Model United Nations conference is not a given, however. In order to fully take advantage, there must be a high level of preparation. For delegates to function at the high level that is the measuring stick for success, they must have a good, if not elite grasp of all the tools mentioned above, along with a comfortable relationship with all procedural rules, of which there are quite a few. For the delegation from Trinity College, the task of honing these skills and learning new ones presented quite a challenge considering they would be thrown into the mix with some students from other delegations that were seven or eight year veterans of the program.

To prepare, delegates put work into their public speaking skills in mock situational speeches that allowed for a decreasing amount of preparation, as well as learned to write position papers, the backbones of preparation. Individually, they kept up on world news relating to their committee, keeping a close eye on the relationship their country had with others.

The result was an incredible experience at a prestigious conference with exemplary performances from all the Trinity College delegates. First time delegate, Henry Chavez ’18, reflected, “It was a unique experience getting to work with other students from all parts of the world to come up with solutions to problems that plague the international community.”

He seemed to speak for the group as every delegate gave a fairly commensurate response. President, Daniella Salazar ’17, commenting on her two years of college-level Model UN experience, was no exception saying, “Model UN has allowed me to grow, develop, and learn in ways that I could not have imagined. It forced me to go out of my comfort zone and apply all the knowledge I acquired in class and in life to conferences.” She went on to express her vehement belief in the value of Model United Nations, stating, “I think it is very important for us to try to create as many opportunities like this on campus, and possibly at the NESCAC level.”

With this, Salazar announced an ambitious new project that has been taken on by the club’s leaders to start a Model United Nations conference hosted by Trinity, appropriately named “TrinMUN.” Within the next three years, this group hopes to make Trinity the epicenter of a NESCAC-wide conference with national potential. When asked why these aspiring underclassmen envision a conference at Trinity, they respond, unanimously, that despite the demands it brings with it, Model United Nations rewards participants with an organic sense of fulfillment, which is entirely unique.

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