By VASUMATHI VENKAT ‘22
On November 16, 2019, a group of Edison High students dressed in professional business attire joined a sea of other similarly-dressed students anxiously waiting and preparing in the school’s cafeteria. They broke into small groups after an opening address, entering classrooms where they would furiously debate and write papers for the rest of the day.
In autumn, the Edison High Model United Nations team attended their first conference of the year at Franklin High School, NJ. In this extracurricular activity, students roleplay delegates of various nations in committees addressing a plethora of global issues, such refugee crises, healthcare standards, and economic problems.
Franklin High School MUN, or FHSMUN, seemed to be a great practice run as they plan to attend more competitive ones in the upcoming spring while Edison High MUN came out with a unanimous atmosphere of pride and two individual awards: Vasumathi Venkat ‘22 with a Position Paper award and Vinay Menon ‘23 with an Outstanding Delegate Award.
“I went to the Franklin conference to have fun and enjoy being a nerd, and to that extent, the event was more than fulfilling,” says Menon, Outstanding Delegate Award-winner and newbie, “I am glad that I could do well enough to earn an award at this conference, but I still have quite a long way to go as a MUN delegate. On that note, I hope to continue participating in MUN throughout high school to become a more knowledgeable person and a better global citizen.”
Having registered only a month in advance, the Executive Board of the Edison High MUN Team had frantically trained its delegates in parliamentary procedure and jargon as well as the art of diplomatic debate. They created workshops to teach position paper-writing and resolution-crafting.
“This year, we intended to revamp the club and address the lack of practice from last year,” says Venkat, Position Paper Award-winner and member of the Executive Board, “we definitely tried harder to recruit new delegates this year and realized that no amount of preparation is ever too much. I think that our hard work and motivation definitely paid off, since many of us had a memorable experience at Franklin. I can say, from experience, that preparation is key to an enjoyable experience and award-winning.”
Upon arriving at Franklin High School, the team met up and compared notes, materials, and opening speeches prior to the opening address. Afterward, they split off to different classrooms based on the committee they had picked. Each committee consisted of 25 delegates, each of whom was from a different school and represented a different country, ranging from little-known Tunisia to international-power U.K.. Through their opening remarks in the speaker’s list and moderated caucuses (formal debate), they established their country’s policy. During unmoderated caucuses (informal discussion), they sought allies and formed blocs, group of countries that will write resolutions and vote together. Their shared goal was to craft a passing goal, while each individual hoped to perform well in committee.
After a quick lunch break where they found and updated their team, they regrouped with their committee, frantically finishing their resolutions and obtaining sponsors before presentations. After a Q & A session on the resolutions, the delegates voted. Based on their performance in committee so far, five delegates in each committee were awarded at the end.
The Executive Board and advisors are optimistic with the way the conference turned out, especially considering most of their members are new recruits from the EHS club fair.
Executive Board member Srinidhi Venkatesh ‘22 says “Model UN most definitely has helped grow my public speaking abilities as an individual. As a whole club, we are working to further our exposure to worldwide events while meeting new like-minded delegates from all over through more conferences and new opportunities.”
The Model UN club plans to attend at least two more upcoming conferences in preparation for the weekend conferences on the circut next year, hoping to train their delegates and raise enough funding to be able to fully immerse in the experience next year.
For more information about the Edison High Model UN team, contact advisors Ms. Kaitlin Hoey and Mr. Michael Glackin.
Photographer: Michael Glackin