At a Model UN conference, students debate on behalf of a country in an assigned committee. In each committee, which range from actual United Nations organizations like the World Health Organization and United Nations Development Program to historical committees like the Roman Senate and Second Continental Congress committee, students recieve specific topics they must debate and discuss.
Akash Desai, a Paint Branch junior who was on the Peloponnesian War Council, enjoyed being on a historical council because "we had the opportunity to change history."
The conference encompasses three days and takes place at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Committee sessions last around 3-to-4 hours and require committee members to debate topics ranging from drug trafficking to women’s rights to militarization of outer space. Adisa Paul, a Paint Branch senior who was on the Social, Humanitarian Cultural Affairs Committee, explained the fear one feels before speaking to a group of 10 or even 130 delegates by saying, "It is always terrifying to speak for the first time, but afterwards you want to speak all the time."
In order to speak on behalf of one’s country, she/he must write a position paper that outlines the country’s position on a certain topic. The entire point of the conference for each nation is to pass resolutions that benefit one’s country. One way to do that is to actually write the resolution, which enables you to be a sponsor and thus puts you in a good position to win a best delegate award. Adisa Paul explains the necessity of writing a resolution by saying, "You cannot expect anyone else to write a resolution that would benefit your country, so you have to take the initiative and write your own to help your country.’"
Despite all the preparation one does, nothing can prepare you for the "midnight crisis." During a midnight crisis situation, delegates are woken up between 1:30 a.m.- 2:00 a.m. and asked to report to their committees because Hannibal has reached Rome’s walls and is about to attack Rome, or an unforeseen, immediate crisis has occurred in the world. It occurs on the second night of the conference. As a delegate presenting a country or a person, you are expected to work with others in your committee for three hours, battling sleep while attempting to solve the crisis. From personal experience, the session feels like Hell, but looking back, the midnight crisis is some sort of badge of honor. Chris Skipper, an 11th grader who went through a midnight crisis, thought that "at the time I didn’t really like it, but looking back it gives you real-world insight."
Hargeet Singh’s impressions on the conference were that "Even though people might tell you that you’ll enjoy the hotel, I loved the conference ten times more! I loved making new friends, and I still miss it."
While the club and conference may seem a little nerdy, all academic clubs have their quirks. Model UN (MUN), as Sponsor Mr. Miller explains, is "a great way to learn about other cultures and countries and take a four day field trip." Everyone is welcome to join MUN, so if you are interested in joining, listen for upcoming meetings on the announcements.