MUN Places Third at Georgetown, 28 PA Students Receive Awards

While one student was solving potential crises facing a 2027 Asia, two others discussed racism in soccer and planned the World Cup, and the bulk of the student body enjoyed a restful weekend. These three were among 40 members of the PA Model United Nations Club who attended the Georgetown Model UN Conference over the weekend. PA placed third among schools at the conference and its members received a total of 16 awards, a school record for the Georgetown competition. Additionally, Phillips Academy’s Model UN rival school J.P. Stevens fell to fourth place after edging out PA to win first last year. Student attendees also had the unique opportunity of hearing from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who was in DC to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and visited the conference to address the participants. Over a period of four days, members of the PA Model UN Team participated in a whirlwind of 20 different committees, ranged from large double-delegation General Assemblies to small single-delegation specialized councils. Ben Ho ’11 represented Burkina Faso in the General Assembly with Chris Meyer ’11 in their first trip to the Georgetown conference. He found the four hour-long committee sessions intense, especially without break time in between. “It was hard to maintain focus for those lengths of time especially when we had to constantly adapt to the changing discussion. We couldn’t afford to slack off for a minute,” he said. Michaeljit Sandhu ’09 discussed trans-national migration and terrorism in the Organization of American States council, winning the best delegation award in his council. He was also voted “Best Delegate” by the other delegations for the council’s superlatives. Sandhu said that his strategy to win was to speak well, have clout within the conference and write and pass good resolutions. “To win you must be on your game constantly. People around you will start talking about who they anticipate is going to win, and if it’s not you then you start working harder,” he said. Jen Downing ’08 dealt with crises involving China, North Korea and South Korea in the Future Security Council of 2027, particularly proliferation and terrorism. Participants in the Future Security Council 2027 were allowed to send notes to their home government and inquire about recent history and other basic facts in order to better represent their nation. Downing was challenged with a country assignment of Brazil that gave her little leverage with the Asian countries, but she sought to speak effectively. “I tried to present an alternative perspective whenever possible, and flip around the situation to look at its different angles,” she said. Downing was recognized with a verbal commendation for her work in the council. Additionally, her committee was interrupted with 30 different news releases over the course of the four days. For one such crisis, the 14 committee members had to return to the committee room at midnight, where they were informed that a United States submarine had crashed into a Chinese submarine while delivering nuclear weapons to Taiwan. Downing worked hard to stay on task despite the multiple terrorist situations that her committee was faced with. “I found my committee particularly interesting and challenging, since it was set in the future and so we had no way of knowing the current background information of our country,” she said. Julian Chernyk ’10 represented England in the FIFA Congress with Ishan Kapoor ’09. The FIFA congress members discussed racism in soccer and planning the logistics of the soccer World Cup in South Africa. Chernyk was recognized as an honorable delegate. This year was his first trip to the Georgetown conference. “It’s a lot of work; you’re probably in session for around 20 hours,” he said. Conor May, ’09 was awarded “Outstanding Delegate” after representing Burkina Faso in the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), where he and his partner Kyle Rogers ’09 debated about conflict diamonds and the space arms race. May participated in the Georgetown conference in the previous two years. He felt confident going into the conference. “Andover Model UN prepares you well to speak effectively and frequently in your committee meetings,” he said. Teruyo Shimazu, Instructor in Japanese and Faculty Advisor to Andover’s Model UN was impressed with the preparation and organization of the students who took part in the competition. She commended the PA students for their focus and passion as they represented themselves in their sessions. Shimazu said she was surprised that PA received third place instead of second, because the students performed extremely well in their respective committees. However, the awards are calculated by dividing the points received per capita, which provides a challenge for a large group.