Vast Success for Model United Nations Team

Nick Redd '20, Community Writer

     This spring semester, a group of Wilmington Friends students attended WIMUN WFUNA, a Model United Nations conference in New York City held at the official United Nations Headquarters. This conference is an educational simulation in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations while improving leadership, communication, and public speaking skills. Thousands of conferences like WIMUN are held yearly, around the world, to discuss international topics and controversies. These conferences consist of over 1,000 delegates, and students attend from over 100 countries. During those conferences, students are challenged to address and talk about real-world issues such as peacekeeping, human rights, economic and social development, the environment, and immigration. This year, 24 students from our school attended the conference in New York City alongside many other students and UN members. Official UN diplomats that handle real-world issues were in attendance to speak to the students, giving them insight on the world issues they handle.

     Once a student expresses an interest in the Model UN club, they must attend all club meetings and write a position paper that addresses a certain country and its issues. Harry Anderson ’20, wrote his Position Paper about information and communication technology. His topic relates to unified communications between citizens. He had this to say about the conference: “It was a really good learning opportunity to see how international governments work. It was exciting to create solutions to the world’s problems.” Anderson is only one of many students that attend Model UN meetings every day 6. The club is one of the most popular clubs in the school as 60+ students attended the interest meeting in the Fall. The club itself is not yet a Friends tradition, as this year marks the second since its founding. The club was co-founded and is led by Connor Miller ’19 and Grant Sheppard ’19.

     In the club’s first outing last year, they attended the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. 16 students from our school participated at ILMUNC. This year’s conference is a bit more special as the location for parts of the conference was at the official United Nations Headquarters in New York City. What made this conference even more special is that Miller gave an opening plenary speech to 1,200+ students at the official UN podium. His speech addressed the prevention of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. He started his speech declaring, “Terrorism, war, and conflict are not solely historical occurrences. They are happening right now – at this very moment. There are many choices before us that dictate necessary steps towards attaining world peace.” Miller also went on to win the Diplomacy Award in his committee, representing the Syrian Arab Republic. Sheppard ’19 also had a great conference experience as he won the Position Paper Award in his committee, representing Vietnam. He wrote about the eradication of poverty for the conference and stated this about his experience, “Model UN was even better than anticipated. I, along with my peers, explored the wonders of diplomacy, developed worldwide friendships, and–in true Quaker fashion–we furthered our understanding of effective consensus. Best of all, my fellow co-clerk and co-founder, Connor Miller, was able to speak to 1,2000 students at the famed New York UN Headquarters. At the end of the trip, Connor received an award for his diplomacy, and I was honored to receive an award for my position paper. We are so proud of our fellow delegates and incredibly thankful to our faculty sponsor, Mrs. Kenney, and all of our chaperones.”

     Kenney, the faculty sponsor and one of the chaperones commented, “It seemed like a good overall experience for me and the students participating. Also, it was very interesting to see and hear our student’s perspectives contrast with international opinions. It was nice to be in the official UN headquarters, and the students learned that importance to detail is imperative to making laws. Even the small things count.”  Overall, the enthusiasm felt by all of the delegates demonstrates the viability of the Model UN club for years to come. Congrats to all delegates for undertaking an intense cultural and intellectual experience!