Model United Nations team competes at conference in Portugal, pleased with results


Leah Starr, Profiles Editor

The Model United Nations team competed at a conference in Portugal, from Nov 28-30. They competed well, and won four awards- one for each competitor.

The Model United Nations team consists of many different membership titles and positions, within councils, committees and other special positions, giving students the opportunity to compete. The positions include general members, Frost ambassadors, junior officers, director of operations, vice president, director general and secretary general. “I love being in Model United Nations. There is a lot to learn and lots of skills to pick up. I have definitely become more comfortable with public speaking, working with others, and problem-solving. It is hard at first but once you get into the pace of things it’s so fun,” senior member Samaa Zaman said.

The four competitors, senior Martin Li, senior Joel Shapiro, junior Ryan Moorhead, and senior Iman Shumburo, left for a flight to Libson on Nov. 26, and spent the rest of the day touring the city. The conference lasted over the next three days, while still permitting time for touring. The team got the last minute sights of the city before departing on Nov. 31. Over their five day trip, they explored all around Portugal including Alfama, Belem, and many other places, learning about Portuguese history.

Qualifying for the conference was time consuming. For most of the team, the process included being scouted and then later filling out an application with multiple questions and a letter of recommendation. “I was scouted after winning an award a UPenn conference. After that I applied and got a rec,” senior Vice President of Model United Nations Martin Li said.

The conference consisted of other schools and teams from around Europe and the Middle East. Because the conference mimicked the European Union, each delegate represented a different minister. Some of the main topics discussed were climate change and artificial intelligence. “Because I was representing an expert I had to learn a lot about European regulation of artificial intelligence, and I definitely have a better understanding of it now,” Li said.

The school returned, but not before winning four awards, one for each competitor. The position held at the conference and award won for each person are as follows: Minister of Immigration and Refugees for the Italian Cabinet Joel Shapiro won “Best”, Adriana Maldonado Lopez in the ITRE Iman Shumburo won “Outstanding”, Russia, CJEU Martin Li won “Outstanding” and Zsolt Halmosi- Hungarian National Police, FRONTEX Ryan Moorhead won “Verbal”.

The competitors and entire team are proud of how they performed and hope to send more teammates to another national competition like this one. “I am so proud of how everyone did because they worked very hard and it definitely paid off. I am so happy for them,” Zaman said.

Although they did well and learned a lot, they will continue to strive to achieve great things in the future. “I obviously am so proud of how I did, but I could always do better,” Li said.