Students Debate World Issues at 21ST PAIMUN

PA students don’t often discuss pirates off the Somali coast or nuclear weapon policy in the Middle East. On Sunday, delegates representing Phillips Academy, Taft and Exeter spent over six hours debating some of the most pertinent issues confronting the world at the 21st Phillips Academy Invitational Model United Nations (PAIMUN) conference. Delegates representing countries such as France, Kenya, Russia, Iran and Rwanda were scattered throughout the rooms and buildings on Abbot Campus with their laptops and microphones, researching and voicing their countries’ opinions. Three different United Nations bodies were simulated at the conference. Delegates with little or no experience comprised the General Assembly, the largest group, while those with more experience met in the Security Council. The most seasoned delegates met in the Cabinet. Andover placed first in all three levels. Delegates from each of the three bodies discussed a wide range of global issues. In the General Assembly, representatives debated nuclear weapons and economic sanctions in Iran. Alex Salton ’11, a member of the General Assembly, said, “It’s interesting to learn both about technical procedures used in genuine U.N. conferences but also to learn about the complex connections and relations between nations throughout the world.” In the Security Council, delegates explored the tension between Russia and Georgia and attempted to find a solution to Russian aggression. The Cabinet was comprised of fourteen experienced delegates, twelve from Andover, one from Taft and one from Exeter. Delegates discussed issues from the political settlement of Zimbabwe to ethnic tension in Darfur, Sudan. Cabinet member Daniel Glassberg ’09 said, “[The Cabinet was] fantastic… a really great experience. It’s interesting seeing how things play out and how countries stick to their actual roles.” Cassius Clay, Co-Vice President and chair of the Cabinet, said, “[The Cabinet] did a lot with crisis situations that delegates had to adapt to.” As the two youngest members of Andover’s Cabinet, Chris Meyer ’11 and Ben Ho ’11 described the difficulty of participating in the Cabinet compared to what they experienced last year. “It’s not just one of those things where you go once a week. It requires an open mind and helps your speaking and debating skills,” Ho said. Meyer said that he spent three hours preparing information outside of what was given to him in his booklet, because he wanted to be extremely well-informed. Meyer was a co-winner of Outstanding Accommodations, representing Rwanda. He shared the award with Krystle Manuel-Countee ’09, who represented Zimbabwe. At the conclusion of the conference, Chase Ebert ’09 said, “I am proud to be a part of such a stellar organization.” Clay said, “The level of performance and debate in the Cabinet was impressive. It was hard to decide who to give awards to.” “I learned a lot in the conference, although it was much more laid back than I was expecting. Even though it went on the entire day, I feel like it was a really fun and good experience,” said Audrey McMurtrie ’11 of the General Assembly. Jeremy Hutton ’11, a co-recipient of an outstanding commendation for Poland in the General Assembly, said, “I think Model U.N. is a great opportunity for kids to understand how the real U.N. works and also a great way to get kids involved in current events, politics and international relations.” Whitney Ford ’10 added, “The club really prepared us even though it’s our first conference.”