Model UN Takes Awards At Georgetown Conference

Journeying to the 40th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations Conference (NAIMUN) in Washington, DC, this past weekend, approximately 50 members of Phillips Academy’s Model United Nations club (PAMUN) left campus for the weekend and took home numerous prizes for their work in sessions of mock -political and legal debate. The conference, organized by Georgetown University, featured 3000 students from more than 100 schools across the country. Chaperoned by Instructor in History and Social Science Carroll Perry, Instructor in Mathematics Donald Barry, and Summer Opportunities Office Director Roxanne Barry, members of PA’s delegation spent the holiday weekend passing resolutions and proposals in their respective committees. Although PAMUN’s representatives did not win the Outstanding School award, as they did last year, Andover students still received the top awards in five of 32 committees for their abilities to speak, analyze, and garner support for the resolutions they presented to their fellow delegates. PAMUN Co-Head Bob Yamartino ’03 commented, “We were both better behaved and better prepared than last year, but we didn’t win Outstanding School this year. Award or no award, we were pleased with the way everyone did and the way everyone conducted themselves.” Fellow PAMUN board member Morgan Miller ’03 also expressed disappointment at not receiving the Outstanding School Award, remarking, “I feel that we deserved it as much this year as last year, but I understand why [NAIMUN staff] would be less eager to give it to us because we won last year.” Structured to include the wide array of committees into the weekend’s schedule of events, NAIMUN featured General Assembly groups, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) units, and a handful of political simulations such as the International Court of Justice and the Iraqi cabinet. PA delegates represented nations ranging from Algeria to the United States and argued within the bounds of parliamentary procedure to address such topics as nuclear disarmament and regulation of worldwide oil prices. Miller reflected on the relevance of the simulated councils to today’s world, noting, “Almost all of the regional councils and cabinets had issues that were real. All of the crisis sessions were actual issues so it was impossible to take [the conference] lightly. Everyone had to be motivated and intense.” The best delegate from each committee received a golden gavel for his or her work throughout the weekend. Zach Cafritz ’03, Morgan Miller ’03, Clem Wood ’04, Bob Yamartino ’03, and the pair of Thatcher Clay ’04 and Matt Cohen ’04 all took the award. In addition, Tara Gadgil ’03, Piotr Brzezinski ’03, Nick Ingaciola ’03, and the team of Yusuke Uchiyama ’05 and Ben Stone ’04 won Outstanding Delegate awards, with Jeannette Park ’03 and Yasmin Dahya ’03 earning recognition as an Honorable Delegation. “We did very well in the regional organizations and cabinets,” Yamartino said. “The younger groups showed a lot of potential for next year. Overall, it was a worthwhile endeavor and we all had a good time.” After Sunday’s awards ceremony and closing banquet, record snow falls throughout the Northeast region forced local airports to close and disrupted the travel plans of the Andover group, which scrambled to arrange for an afternoon train to return to campus that night. The majority of the 3000 NAIMUN participants remained at the Hilton Hotel, the site of the conference, for several days after NAIMUN’s conclusion, as Washington, DC, entered a state of emergency. Despite the logistical nightmare of rescheduling travel plans for 50 people, PA’s chaperones found available seats on a nine-hour Amtrak train ride from DC to Boston, where delegates arrived in South Station at 5:00 a.m. on Monday morning. “The bonding that went on during the train ride was something to remember,” Yamartino said. “We have a group of kids who are versatile and able to adjust and deal with crisis. That certainly showed when we were faced with the weather disaster.” Miller agreed, saying, “As a group, we were a lot more cohesive than in the past. Everyone that went this year really wanted to be there for the right reasons, and we certainly bonded on the way home.” The nation-wide Model United Nations program challenges high-school students “to address global issues and conflicts.” According to the NAIMUN mission statement, “Students are pushed to heighten their understanding of the international system from both political and legal perspectives, while also testing their negotiation, judgment, and problem-solving skills.”