On a sunny day, most people would rather be outside, enjoying the balmy weather. But some would rather be working to solve problems including terrorism, women’s rights, and nuclear warfare and maintaining international peace and security.
Who are these people? If you guessed the United Nations (UN) , you are correct. Since this school is not a country, nor can it ever be a country, Model United Nations (MUN) is the next closest thing to what goes on inside of the building on 1st Avenue between 42nd and 48th Street.
The original UN came into existence in 1945, following World War II, with the mission to maintain international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict between countries, helping countries in conflict make peace, and creating the conditions and the resources needed to allow peace to successfully flourish in a society. Although MUN is not quite a peacekeeping organization, nor does it uphold or create international law, it is still an influential club in this school; amassing over 80 members this year.
The club plans to compete at MUN conferences at prestigious colleges up and down the East Coast. Last year, the club participated at conferences at Cornell, Georgetown and even at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Conferences are a great place for students all across the world to interact diplomatically and form relations with others while still pushing for different policy positions competitively,” junior Arjun Guthal said.
MUN conferences are tests of mental strength; participants spend hours in committees, engaging in debate on a wide range of topics for the international community. Nevertheless, attendees always tend to make them fun. “You get to make friends for life at the Delegate Dance, which is the party each conference hosts on Saturday night. Once you’ve been to conference you can’t forget that experience,” senior MUN Co-President Ornella Bayigamba said.
During meetings held every Tuesday, members are assigned a country based on a particular topic. The topics can range from terrorism to the Syrian Refugee Crisis. This kind of debate is what members of MUN will experience in conferences; it prepares them for speaking in front of large crowds or coming up with something to say on the spot to support their argument.
“It’s a way to challenge your own beliefs, which gives me a wider view on how the world works and increases my ability to respect cultures and people that differ from my own,” senior and Co-President Kate Garmer said.
Despite the challenges, members of the club have used the valuable skills learned within the club and applied them into their everyday lives. Because the club focuses on current events, some members have learned many things about the world they live in that they did not know about before.
“MUN has influenced my life because I have become a much more confident person, and I’m much more knowledgeable now about current events and the different things taking place on our planet,” sophomore Junior Officer Jenny Yarmovsky said.