By Leighton Van Wagner, Staff Writer
The Model United Nations (MUN) club represented Trinity Hall for the first time at the North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN) conference in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 14-17. Juniors and seniors in the club traveled with faculty advisors Jennifer Havens and Nicole Sadowski to the Washington Hilton, where the Georgetown International Relations Association hosted the conference.
“A Model United Nations Conference allows high school students the opportunity to participate as delegates of a UN member state to promote peace and achieve conflict resolution for world issues through diplomacy and cooperation,” Sadowski said.
The club’s first visit to NAIMUN allowed students to practice the critical skills of collaboration, public speaking, global awareness and conflict resolution. Students worked in committee sessions alongside 3,000 other student delegates from all over the United States, as well as from 15 other countries including Great Britain, China, Peru and Brazil.
Prior to the conference, each delegate wrote a position paper to the committee chair about her assigned country’s perspective on a specific issue. This required students to do thorough research to become knowledgeable about their topics. The position papers were then shared with their specific committees, which developed into a debate where delegates draft and pass resolutions on how to best resolve the issue at hand.
According to Sadowski, committee sessions discussed topics including “the intersection of nuclear terrorism and human rights to adaptation and resilience to climate change, space debris regulation to sustainable tourism in conflict zones and global health security.”
Beyond committee sessions, students also enjoyed a speech by Judy Olsen, director of the Peace Corps, a reunion with alumna Brigid Clifford ’18, a delegate’s dance and musical performances from Georgetown University’s dance and a cappella groups at Hilltop Madness. In addition, the team was surprised to have the opportunity to witness the taping of the show The Handmaid’s Tale while sightseeing at the Lincoln Memorial.
Junior Kylie Hall, who participated in the committee discussing nuclear terrorism, described the conference environment as “very intense, but collaborative and determined.” Hall and junior Alex Konczyk agree that their favorite part about the conference was the opportunity to meet fellow student delegates from all over the world who were equally passionate about discussing pressing international issues.
“My favorite part of Model UN is meeting others from different states and even countries. This allowed me to make friends and discuss worthwhile issues. It was also really great how supportive and excited everyone was to be there,” Konczyk said.