Andover’s Model United Nations (Model UN) held its 35th annual flagship Phillips Academy Interscholastic Model UN (PAIMUN) conference on October 13.
112 delegates from Andover, Andover High School, Belmont Hill, Choate, Commonwealth, Milton, Northfield Mount Hermon, Weston, and Winchester High debated solutions for contemporary and historical global conflicts. Karen Sun ’20, MUN Secretary General, helped lead the planning process for the conference, which began over six months in advance.
Sun said, “Overall, [the planning process] was a lot of work, but it was really fun and putting it together and seeing it come to fruition today was so satisfying. Honestly, I’m so, so proud of everything the board did to make this happen. Generally, we like to frame this conference as a very educational experience for advanced debaters to get better at debating, and for new debaters to really push their limits, put themselves out there, and really realize what Model UN is all about.”
According to Grace Posorske ’20, President of MUN, the six months of planning have been a “long ride.” To organize PAIMUN, the board had to agree on a date, send out invitations to other schools, determine committee topics, write background guides, find catering, book venues, create awards, and more.
“I think that there are a lot of things that slip your mind in terms of what needs to be done, like where should people park and how much should we charge Andover students to attend the conference, but when it comes to actuality, it’s actually quite crucial. So the process was very long and drawn out and had a lot of hiccups, but it got done and it was successful,” said Posorske.
Participating delegates were organized into three committees: the General Assembly (GA) on children’s rights, the Security Council on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and the Joint Crisis Committee (JCC) on the French Revolution’s June Rebellion. The GA, chaired by Michael Lu ’21 and CC Song ’21, focused on writing international policy that promotes child protection and takes steps towards the global eradication of abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and violence against children. In committee, two resolutions, named ‘HUGGER of HOPE’ and ‘SEED GOALZ,’ successfully passed.
“HUGGER of HOPE holistically defended the rights of girls from the perspectives of feminism and children’s rights. They specified a stringent ban on any form of sexual assault and manipulation of young girls and seek to resolve the ongoing child trafficking and sexual servitude in developing countries,” wrote Lu in an email to The Phillipian.
Lu continued, “SEED GOALZ approaches the issue of children’s rights from an economic and social perspective. They believe that economy is the key to resolving child abuse; with poverty comes a lack of education of both adults and children in a society, and while the vicious cycle of child abuse presses on, economic resolutions are the only way out.”
Meanwhile, the JCC focused on addressing the domestic strife between the Royalists and the Insurgents during the French June Rebellion of 1832. The Royalists subcommittee, chaired by Salvador Gomez ’21 and Sophia Hlavaty ’21, passed directives to increase military support in regions affected by revolution. The Insurgents subcommittee, chaired by Lasal Mapitigama ’21 and Irene Kwon ’21, chose to infiltrate the palace of the royal family. By the end of the conference, the actions of both subcommittees ended up catalyzing an early World War I.
Kwon said, “I really enjoyed chairing Crisis because I got to see so many actions taken that didn’t exactly happen in history. I got to see delegates exercise their creativity and play with their powers. We did things that wouldn’t really happen in GA, like we… [killed] off people, put people on trial, put spies into other committees. It was really exciting. I think being in Crisis kind of opens you to that kind of fast-paced, creative, real-world situation side of Model UN.”
According to Gomez, the fast paced and spontaneous JCC required the four chairs to be in constant communication.
“JCC’s are all about measuring the spontaneity and quick reaction time of delegates…. One of the big, important things about [chairing the JCC] is making sure that the four of us work together because even though we’re chairing two different rooms, it’s important that we’re in constant communication and making sure that our actions and each side have a role to play,” said Gomez.
After a suggestion from a friend, Hazel Koh ’21 decided to compete in PAIMUN and was placed in the GA. Although she was initially nervous, by the end of the last committee session she felt inspired by her fellow delegates and realized that her understanding of global affairs increased. Koh won the Outstanding Delegate award in the GA.
In an email to The Phillipian, Koh wrote, “My PAIMUN experience was amazing. It was a huge leap out of my comfort zone, but overall, this experience truly helped me become more confident in public speaking and more knowledgeable in international law. I also loved how MUN encourages teamwork when writing resolutions; I was able to meet many new people and make friends through that aspect. Overall, it was super cool being in a room full of people who were all amazing debaters and so passionate about children’s rights.”
Not only does Model UN challenge students to reach scholastic achievement through improving their research, debate, and writing skills, but the interest also demands that students learn teamwork and the qualities of an effective leader.
Posorske said, “The nice thing about Model UN is that you are given a person or a country to represent so when you’re speaking and coming up with ideas, it doesn’t feel like you’re exposing yourself because you are that person your role is playing, essentially. So, there’s no sense, necessarily, of rawness or personal vulnerability, which removes a lot of the risk and fear that people have with public speaking…. I think that that is a good reason to try and experiment and it’s one of the things that makes it a comfortable place for people who have never experienced public speaking or speaking in front of a crowd before.”
Moving forward, Andover Model UN will participate in college conferences.
Posorske said, “This is our only in-house conference and historically we held a second conference in the spring for middle school students to come and compete. That’s still in deliberation. Usually, we go to Harvard MUN. The second one is unclear in terms of what it will be, but we will definitely be attending college conferences and we usually bring around 20 delegates to each.”
Editor’s Note: Sophia Hlavaty is an Associate News Editor for The Phillipian.