After an upset victory in last year’s meeting at Oakland University Model United Nations (OUMUN), the International Academy failed to defend their title of best delegation at the hands of their crosstown rivals: Bloomfield Hills High School. However, with just one conference remaining in the school year, IA begins to look forward to the future of their Model UN program.
By Evan Kolin (’18)
Last March, Oakland University hosted their first ever Model United Nations conference for local high school teams. The event would include a multitude of awards, from “Best Delegate” and “Superior Delegate” to the “Gavel Award.” But there was one honor that caught each and every club’s eye: “Best Delegation.”
Most of the awards given away during Model UN conferences are individual, so it is hard to compare high school Model United Nations programs outside of tallying up their individual winners. However, Bloomfield Hills High School’s unit, led by History teacher Matthew MacLeod, was known as one of the strongest teams in Oakland County. Nevertheless, to prove everyone’s projections correct, BHHS needed to be OUMUN’s first “Best Delegation” recipient.
But when the two-day conference concluded, it wasn’t BHHS who was receiving the highest trophy; it was the International Academy. The IA’s team shocked their local counterparts, and although MacLeod and company rebounded with a victory at Michigan State Model United Nations (MSUMUN) just a few weeks later, BHHS still sought to avenge that defeat at Oakland.
Fast forward another 365 days, and we come upon OUMUN 2017, the second conference hosted by Oakland University, with a second “Best Delegation” to be awarded. And this time, the favorite pulled through, as Bloomfield Hills High School was gifted the honor while IA failed to place in the top three. Despite the disappointment in the team competition, the International Academy did contain two individual award recipients out of their eight attendees; Enrico Colon (‘19) was recognized as a “Superior Delegate” while Matthew Mancini (‘18) won “Excellent Delegate” in his respective committee. If one would like another comparison, BHHS had 20 solo honors yet brought well over that amount of students.
But for a team as young as IA, there is more to a conference than medals and plaques. Neha Dwibhashyam (‘20) described her first Model UN Conference as “interesting, intellectually challenging, and overall a great experience.” Additionally, she “would definitely recommend MUN to other students because it helps people improve their debate skills and increase their interest and knowledge about international relations and global issues.”
Neha, who was one of three IA freshmen participants along with Danny Jandali and Neil Mascarenhas, represents a club that is beginning to rebuild with young members. Although the team did not have many freshmen this year, that number looks to rise so that the skills needed for Model UN can be taught and developed over the course of one’s high school career, a system that has been mastered by BHHS.
Ivan Wang (‘18), one of three Model UN board members that have been chosen for the 2017-18 school year, said that he can use his “experience to help train younger members, so that the team can be competitive not only now but in the future as well.”
Then, maybe IA can continue to compete at the level of their fellow Bloomfield Hills occupants for years to come. But for the time being, the unit looks forward to their next conference (MSUMUN: March 17-19). And, although the IA has yet to finalize which conferences they will be attending next spring, a rubber match for the ages at OUMUN 2018 may or may not await them.