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MSJ Model United Nations Attends the National High School Model United Nations Conference

By Staff Writers Shuhan Jin and Kaylee Liu

From March 15-18, MSJ’s Model United Nations (Model UN) team competed in the 49th annual National High School Model United Nations Conference (NHSMUN) at the New York Hilton Midtown and United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Consisting of about 8,000 student delegates from more than 70 countries, NHSMUN is one of the largest and most well-known high school Model UN conferences in the world. Despite this being MSJ Model UN’s first year attending the prestigious event in person, attendees earned the Award of Merit for Simulation and Debate and the Plenary Speaker award.

Model UN is a platform for students to get more hands-on experience about how the UN operates, with students acting as delegates from different assigned countries and national committees and working with their peers to discuss and solve global issues related to the United Nations. Delegates were distributed into teams of one or two and over the course of NHSMUN, wrote research papers regarding their designated topic, prepared opening speeches, and collaborated with other countries’ delegates to draft and design resolution proposition papers.

Led by MSJ Model UN Co-President Senior Meher Jain, 10 members of the club attended NHSMUN, including Publicity Officer Sophomore Drishti Sethia; Senior Zi Chuen Ooi, Juniors Lucy Yao, Thomas Du, Nithila Chintakindi, Srushti Nagapurkar, Helia Manesh, and Naren Jegan;  and Sophomore Avi Adalti. Unlike most West Coast conferences, NHSMUN emphasizes collaboration, solely announcing team awards to the audience rather than emphasizing individual ones, encouraging delegates to discuss with peers, and merging blocs, which are groups of delegates from different nations that work together to achieve a resolution. Preparing for the conference required in-depth research on real-world issues and formulating extensive papers. “It was a pretty enriching experience. … [[I think] the conclusions we came to were really thought-provoking.” Chintakindi said. “We discussed how difficult it is to be able to help third-world countries around the globe while still making sure they maintained their sovereignty because we didn’t want to start economic imperialism.”

While the team consisted of multiple first and second-year members and had a hectic committee schedule, each attendee stepped up to the plate, overcoming personal and group obstacles. “The [delegates] broke my expectations,” Jain said. “They put so much time into their speeches and were up late at night working on them and memorizing them. They showed deep levels of emotional maturity, compassion, and consideration.”

The delegates’ hard work paid off as all of the members of MSJ’s team achieved promising results and positive feedback from the Chairs, the judges and heads of each committee. Moreover, MSJ Model UN received NHSMUN’s Award of Merit for Simulation and Debate, the equivalent of an Honorable Mention. Additionally, Yao and Sethia were chosen as Plenary Speakers, receiving the opportunity to represent their committee by speaking at the NHSMUN closing ceremony held at the United Nations Headquarters.

Outside of the conference, delegates visited  numerous well-known attractions across New York City, including Central Park and Times Square. “I got to meet so many new people, … [and the team] all became so close,” Jain said. However, despite an overall positive conference experience, having traveled from CA to NY, the delegates encountered a few logistical and transportation issues. Lacking a coach, Jain and the rest of the team had to figure out all the demanding logistics themselves, including check-in to the hotel and keeping track of the conference schedule. Additionally, attendees navigated the city on their own and budgeted their own money to cover costs. “I walked alone in New York City and in small groups multiple times, becoming more independent and street-smart,” Adalti said. 

After this year’s successful conference, MSJ Model UN hopes to continue participating in NHSMUN. “Model UN isn’t that well known [at MSJ]. … It isn’t an activity many people prioritize because of its emphasis on political science,” Jain said. “I think [NHSMUN] is a great way for more people to know about the club and see what we do.”

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