Model United Nations club competes in year’s first collegiate conference


Photo courtesy Model United Nations (instagram @whsmun)

Juniors Rohan Giare, Jai Ahuja, Samahith Prasanna, Aakash Palathra, Katherine Chow, Divya Subramania, Rhea Chelar, Madison Moorhead, Aneela Shemsu, Labeeba Rahman and seniors Katya Sorokin and Angelina Hermosilla Roman represent the school at NAIMUN 2023, an annual collegiate MUN conference. “NAIMUN this past weekend was an awesome experience. Congratulations to all of our delegates for doing an amazing job,” senior club president Angelina Hermosilla Roman wrote in a post on the club’s Instagram account.

The Model United Nations club competes with other high schools at conferences, where they debate international issues by representing a country in a simulation of a United Nations assembly.

The club meets every Tuesday after school in room 146 and is led by senior club president Angelina Hermosilla Roman and the sponsor, social studies teacher Amy Buckingham. Regular meetings start with the club officers going over a concept with a slideshow, then having all the members do an activity together regarding the concept. “It’s pretty fun and engaging. They try to make you participate as much as possible so you’re prepared for actual conferences,” freshman Pragna Pothakamuri said.

This school’s Model UN ranks within the top 25 high schools in North America and attends both local and collegiate conferences throughout the year. The club also hosts their own annual conference serving 500 students in the DMV area. Members prepare for conferences by researching and composing a paper that proposes a solution to a debate topic that they are assigned. Possible topics include access to clean energy and universalization of LGBTQ+ rights. “Model UN builds life skills such as public speaking skills, collaboration skills and research skills. It also teaches you to be confident and charismatic,” Hermosilla Roman said. 

This year, the MUN club has gone to six local conferences and one collegiate conference so far. The collegiate conference, North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN), took place in Washington D.C. on Feb. 16 through 19 and was hosted by Georgetown University. NAIMUN has taken place every year since 1963. It is the largest student-run MUN conference in the world and, according to the NAIMUN website, has been called the “high school championship” of the MUN circuit. 

This year, the club won the award for Outstanding Small Delegation. “NAIMUN was amazingly spectacular. I had a lot of fun meeting people from all across the world, and I was able to debate a topic that I’m interested in potentially pursuing in the future,” junior club officer Katherine Chow said.

Chow represented Kenya in NAIMUN’s simulation of UNESCO. “The topic my committee discussed was the ethics of gene editing and biomedical technology, and I’m very interested in the combination of science and international policy so this was my dream committee,” Chow said.

Although MUN is academically challenging and somewhat intense, Hermosilla Roman and Chow agree that it is an enjoyable experience. “It’s a pretty chill club at the end of the day. I think the activities we do are fun and we throw parties to celebrate after our conferences. It’s not as serious as other Model UN clubs,” Hermosilla Roman said.

“Model UN at Wootton is really fun. It’s one of my favorite activities that I do, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Personally, being able to debate international politics and learn more about topics regardless if I had known they even previously existed is really fun, but the best part is my friends. My friends in MUN are some of the best I have ever made, and it’s really fun being able to enjoy doing conferences and activities with them,” Chow said.

According to Hermosilla Roman, one of the club’s main focuses this year is to host their own conference, something they do every year.