Traveling downtown for the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC), hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, 20 delegates—along with history department chair Sarah McDowell and teacher James Spagnoletti—attended the 3-day event, which is an international platform for debate and teamwork. Students from around the world were brought together to tackle pressing issues from the past, present, and future with the goal to “inspire future leaders, to promote diplomacy within politics and analyze history to understand the future.”
This year’s Model UN conference theme was “Hope and Resilience in an Ever-Changing World.” SCH students had prepared for this year’s ILMUNC since the start of the school year, meeting weekly to practice and prepare as well as running their own daylong simulation.
Once on site, students became delegates from assigned nations and served on various Model UN committees such as Disarmament and International Security, the World Health Organization, the Oscars Board of Governors, and Eco-Tourism.
Together with his partner, first-time delegate Roman represented the country of Pakistan on the Eco-tourism Committee. He provided insight into the experience: "We were in a room where 74 countries were sharing their position. At the end of the day, we had to write a resolution, describing how we were going to create programs and incentives to promote eco-tourism. There were a lot of people who were really passionate, and we had to learn how to be assertive and voice our opinions on important topics affecting the world. It was so great to meet new people from all over the country in committee and also explore the city during our free time."
Student Jack Gaghan was on the Jurassic Park committee at ILMUNC XXXIX and was assigned a fictional role from Steven Spielberg's movie. "Roughly once per hour, my fellow delegates and I were forced to resolve a catastrophic event in a matter of minutes," he said. "In order to do so, compromising was necessary. I learned to accept proposals that solved the dilemma even if they did not benefit my character."
Debating sharpened his empathy skills, he said, and attending the conference helped him feel part of a larger community of students "as passionate for Model UN as I am."
“The collective enthusiasm for the Model UN was amazing," said McDowell. "The kids liked it so much they are trying to find another one to go to this spring!”