Fourteen members of the Phillips Academy Model United Nations club argued their way through the 25th annual St. John’s Model United Nations Conference (SJMUNC) last Saturday. Model United Nations is a simulation activity in which high school students discuss global issues and propose solutions to modern world problems. Each participant is assigned a country and acts as an ambassador. Competitors discuss issues from the perspective of their country, modeling as true delegates. Members of the PA Model UN club traveled to St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts to compete in PA’s first Model UN conference of the year. SJMUNC gave out no awards, which is not typical for a Model UN conference. Jackie Lender ’11 said, “The only conferences I’d previously attended gave out awards, which made it a little surprising that no awards were given.” Kerry Lanzo ‘11 said, “A lot of people were disappointed. Awards are always a motivation to stand out in your delegation.” Lanzo said SJMUNC was a great first step for participants to refine their discussion skills. Hoonie Moon ’10, President of PA Model United Nations Club said, “[The conference] was a great opportunity to see how other high schools organize Model UN conferences.” Lanzo said that Andover was unable to send as many students to the conference as compared to previous years because Parents’ Weekend conflicted with the conference date. Previous Model UN conferences have been larger, hosting up to 65 Andover participants. Lanzo also mentioned that more beginners showed up to the conference than initially expected, which changed the nature of the competition. “I think there were a lot more beginners than we had anticipated, which made the conference extremely beneficial for new participants.” Lanzo said that conference was less competitive for experienced participants, but was still a great way to build skills. Topics discussed at SJMUNC included the growing number of pirates in Somalia and illegal organ trafficking. Though only 14 members could attend the conference, many participants said they had a great time and felt they benefitted from the experience. “The conference allowed me to interact with people from Andover who I didn’t previously know. I got to meet a lot of new students. Even though we didn’t get awards, it was a great experience and I made a lot of friends,” said Jackie Lender ’11. Andover will host the Phillips Academy Invitational Model United Nations Conference (PAIMUN) on Sunday, November 8.