The Model UN Club Voyages (Virtually) to Clark MUN
By: Grant James Walters
Last Saturday, the Model UN Club at Conard participated in Clark MUN, an annual conference held at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Members of the club had been working diligently to research their respective delegation and issues for their assigned committees at Clark MUN. The conference this year was held on a virtual platform called Gatherly, and around 500 delegates from across the United States (and even other countries) took part in this diverse conference. Sophomores Grant Walters and Elizabeth Zehr, who represented the delegation of Nicaragua, were the only members from the Conard Model UN club who took home an award, which was an honorable mention (essentially third place) in the DISEC committee, beating out roughly 70 other delegates in the largest committee at the event.
Although it may seem strange to have a Model UN conference held virtually, the Conard club has been forced to transition from in-person conferences and club meetings to exclusively virtual conferences and club meetings; however, members of the club have met this challenge with great perseverance and grit, continuing to bring that same drive as seen in previous years to every conference and meeting, no matter the awkwardness, confusion, and Internet problems present. In fact, club president Andrew Maglio asserts that although moving to a virtual platform has made it harder to effectively interact with fellow club members and delegates at conferences, he believes that there are positives associated with going completely virtual, such as making conferences more accessible to members that have a harder means of attending conferences during normal years. This implies that the virtual platform has permitted further participation from the members because of this accessibility.
So, where will the Conard Model UN Club move from here; how will they finish off this unprecedented year filled with uncertainty, confusion, and fear? Well, the club appears to be looking to finish the year off with a “bang!” Club leaders are scheduling more conferences for the end of the year, with some already appearing on the club’s calendar. Andrew Maglio states that this will provide even more experience for younger members of the club who are looking to get more conferences under their belts. Many veteran members are hopeful that these final conferences will shape these members into exceptional future delegates, since experience is a pivotal aspect when it comes to shaping the best delegates. Overall, this year has presented various challenges to Conard’s Model UN Club, ranging from club meetings to club conferences; but throughout these challenges, the clear success and development of many delegates through conferences like Clark MUN truly attests to the determination and grit that each of these club members possess.