The University of Chicago hosts one of the most competitive Model UN conferences in the country, with attendees ranging from California to New York. However, that didn’t stop the IA Model UN team from making itself noticed once again, coming out with two awards, an abundance of resolutions, and memories that will last a lifetime.
By Evan Kolin (’18)
Over 2,600 high school students from across the nation packed their bags for a three night stay in Chicago over the weekend of February 2-5. But this was no ordinary school trip; those four days would consist of furious debate and intense compromise between student delegates, all vying for their own resolutions to be passed and for the world’s issues to be solved.
Fifteen of the thousands of delegates at Model United Nations University of Chicago, or MUNUC, were representatives from the International Academy. Although the students were forced to miss two days of school as a result, the skills gained through Model UN carry on with them for the rest of their lives.
Model UN is a semi-realistic simulation of the real United Nations, where students represent different countries or people, and attempt to solve international problems through resolutions that are submitted and voted on after hours of fierce negotiation. There are a variety of techniques that decide which delegates are able to pass their resolutions, as well as who comes out with the conference’s awards come Sunday.
Scholars must be able to display outstanding public speaking skills in order to convince the rest of their committee that their solution is the greatest, as formal or informal speeches are a huge compartment of Model UN. Additionally, sound writing is also a major factor, both in the position papers that are turned in before the conference as well as the resolutions that are completed at the end. Lastly, collaboration is essential, as students have to be able to work well with others if they wish to gain the majority that is needed to pass their respective resolutions.
Enrico Colon (Class of ‘19)- who, along with partner Al-Amin Ali (Class of ‘17), was an Honorable Mention recipient at MUNUC-stressed the importance of each and every one of those very skills: “Whether someone has a particular forte in writing, speech, or persuasion, they play a major role. Perhaps most paramount is the collaboration during committee. If each counterpart is separately working in each of their specialties, nothing gets done as agreements can’t be made; but if groups are willing to compromise, a solution to the issues at hand can be easily reached”.
However, not only does Model UN allow students to practice techniques that are essential in school as well as almost any potential career field, these conferences can also help scholars find their true passion.
Matt Mancini (Class of ‘18), who was also an Honorable Mention delegate, loved the fact that “[he] had to come up with quick, relevant ideas on the spot.” Always knowing that the world of politics and international relations was of great interest to him, he credits MUNUC for pushing himself over the edge to finally understand that “this is what [he] wanted to do for the rest of [his] life”.
Yes, parliamentary procedure (the rules of debate that are followed during committee) may not be of much use to these delegates once they move on from the world of Model UN, but there is so much more to the club than moderated and unmoderated caucuses. Model UN teaches skills that will be used for the rest of students’ lives, and in some cases, may inspire them to realize how they want to spend the rest of theirs.