Conard Model UN Report
By: Andrew Maglio
From Friday, November 8th to Sunday, November 10th, roughly 30 Conard students attended the University of Connecticut’s annual Model United Nations Conference (UCMUN). Representing countries ranging from France to Afghanistan and all the ones in between, these students engaged in fierce debate with several hundred other students from across the United States. Topics were far-reaching and complex, ranging from the opioid crisis to child labor.
As one of the largest delegations in attendance, Conard students saw a wide breadth of committee and country assignments; where they gained new perspectives on their countries’ respective policies , as well as about serious topics facing their generation. Some topics appeared more intricate than others (for example, Chinese bases in the South China Sea versus accessibility to education for kids with disabilities); however, each student learned a little more about a serious problem that requires a solution.
At UCMUN, there are two main styles of debate: General Assembly/Specialized and Crisis (or JCC). In General Assembly, delegates discuss a topic together to find a resolution without any serious changes to the information available throughout the three days of committee. In crisis, however, “crisis staff” regularly fabricate a fictional storyline and introduce information (as if events were happening in real time) into the committee to complicate the debate.
The majority of students debated in “General Assembly style”, a simpler form of debate on a topic with more delegates, but a select few students chose to partake in a unique simulation called a Joint Crisis Committee (JCC); these students had more selective information, which subsequently complicated debate. John Zehr, a Conard senior and Student Council President, participated in one of the two JCC simulations, where he discussed “Antarctica and Conservation” with other students. He believes that “it was a terrific experience, to get to form my own position on an environmental issue, debate, brainstorm additional solutions, and ultimately work with other delegates to devise a comprehensive resolution satisfactory to all - that kind of experience is invaluable. We need cooperation and open-mindedness like there is in Model U.N.” John was a nominee for the prestigious Betty Hansen award, given to the best delegate at the entire conference.
Two other Conard students received awards: Ally Bernstein-Naples, a sophomore, received the Most Improved Delegate Award in UNHCR representing France, and Ally McKenna, a senior, received Most Improved Delegate in her committee as well. Conard students continue to showcase their debate and leadership skills, coming off a great UCMUN 2018 season with eight awards won. Conard has consistently had a strong showing, representative of the community in Conard that fosters discussion and learning.
Conard Model U.N.’s next conference is National High School Model UN (NHSMUN), which takes place in New York City, just minutes from the United Nations Headquarters, where some of these delegates might end up.