Friends Debut at the Model UN Competition

Ellie Bradley, News Writer

This week, from January 25th to January 28th, a small group of students from grades ten to twelve will be attending the Ivy League Model United Nations conference in Philadelphia. Model UN is a very popular  club at high schools across the world, but it is new here at WFS. Junior Connor Miller came up with the idea, seeing it as a way to enrich our community and strengthen students’ skills of debate, public speaking, and conflict resolution. In any model UN, each school attending acts as representatives from a country who in actuality, is a member of the United Nations. Before the conference, each person must write a “position paper” on a topic that will then be discussed in their individual committees. The students are split up into these smaller committees where they discuss possible resolutions to the conflicts they were given. Each school’s goal is to make the best proposals possible in their committees in order to have these accepted and passed. To make the simulation realistic, each school does their best to act in the interests of their country Though this all is just a “model” of what the real UN does, the problems being discussed are relevant and real world issues.

On Thursday, the 15 students will go into Philly by train and sign into the conference center, followed by the opening ceremonies, and then the first committee session. The next three days consist of committee sessions, in which students discuss resolutions and debate with other delegates.his year the team is representing Italy. Special events are also offered throughout, such as the delegate dance, summer and opportunities fair, and delegate fest. Delegates will stay in the Marriott Downtown hotel together for the three nights, and Sunday afternoon our students will return to Wilmington. WFS students will be accompanied by Ms. Gutstein and Betsy, and have been supported throughout the process with Mr. Ergueta as a faculty advisor to the club.

Connor Miller ‘19, founder and clerk of the club, feels very strongly about the ethics and enrichment behind the event. “Model United Nation rewards all attendees by giving an advanced simulation of how real-world politics works. It not only has available sections for legitimate debate and discussion, but it also has sections for networking and lobbying, which are equally important as the formal debate. Attendees go through an intensive four days of solving real diplomatic issues, while increasing public speaking skills, and meeting other students from across the globe.”

Grant Sheppard ‘19, is also a clerk, along with Carlin Beskrone ‘19, and like Miller, is passionate about the importance of the conference for the students attending. “We are very excited to go to ILMUNC (Ivy League Model United Nations Conference). It has been taking place at UPenn since 1984, but it will be Wilmington Friends School’s first time appearance. Friends students will be representing a large part of the delegation of Italy.  It has been awesome organizing this with Connor Miller, who found this and came up with the idea. On behalf of the entire club, I’d like to thank all of the faculty and administration who stepped up with the short notice to make sure we could go. We are looking forward to a fun and intellectual experience in the coming days.”

Both Connor and Grant summed it up pretty well, and it is fair to say that the weekend will be one in which everyone involved gets a lot out of the program, expanding and enriching their academic skills.

Following the conference, students felt very fulfilled and like they had a great experience, though they were all very tired after such a rigorous weekend. The fifteen took part in many committee meetings, and during their limited free time had the chance to explore the city surrounding the conference center, bonding and making friends outside of Wilmington Friends School. Overall, the weekend was one of fun and intellectual fulfilment, and all members greatly enjoyed their time at ILMUNC.