Saving the world one conference at a time

Model United Nations strives to solve real world problems


The Model United Nations University of Chicago Conference strives to provide students with an environment that stresses academic and social development. Debate was a focus of the conference, and students often had to do extensive research to gain the necessary knowledge. The trip was mainly made up of upperclassmen, such as Seniors Anu Roy-Chaudhury, Atiya Dosani, and Joseph Ahn, and Juniors Alex Taylor and Mikhail Sweeney. Photo courtesy of Elijah Zawatsky.

Public speaking is a vital skill to have in the modern world of business and commerce; however, according to the Washington Post, it is America’s number 1 fear.

25.3% of Americans claim to fear speaking in front of a crowd. Model United Nations (MUN) seeks to remedy this.

“Model UN is a learning experience where you try to simulate an environment in which professional politicians act. You learn important skills such as communication, encourage public speaking, and come out of it with a really fun experience,” junior Mikhail Sweeney said.

On Feb 5, at 4:30 am, 27 members of the SHS MUN Club took the seven hour drive to the historic Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago to participate in the 27th iteration of the Model United Nations University of Chicago Conference (MUNUC).

High school students traveling from all over the world attended the conference, ranging in origin from Chicago itself to China and Italy. All MUNUC activities are held exclusively inside of the Palmer House hotel.

The conference itself consists of “committee” sessions, where students imitate delegations from different countries and go through United Nations procedures to try and solve problems in their respective committees.

These committees are not always a part of the actual United Nations; many are simply affiliated with the UN, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the African Union.

In addition to honing their public speaking skills, students who participated in MUNUC are able to develop their social skills. Because they are in committees with few, if any, other students from their school, students also develop their social skills in a way rarely available during the average school week.

“As a Freshman I think I was a totally different kid. I was a lot quieter and I wasn’t as outgoing as I am now. I think a part of that has been due to MUNUC. It involves a lot of communication and collaboration skills that have really helped me develop as a social person, and grown in a lot of other ways as well,” senior Nakul Narendran said.

MUNUC also provides a unique opportunity to operate relatively independently. This independence roughly emulates a college campus, and thus allows students to gain a preview of post-secondary education.

“I went to MUNUC because I’ve really enjoyed my first year in Model UN. I’m interested in international affairs and thought this would be a good club to be a part of. Having lots of freedom in downtown Chicago was pretty cool too,” junior Abigail McGowan said.

Senior Adam Lucken and juniors Animesh Bapat and Yangxing Ding all received the Outstanding Delegate awards for their respective committees, the highest honor one can earn at MUNUC.

In addition juniors Kevin Fitzgerald, Rohan Dssouza, Misha Sweeney, and Maxwell Gottliebson received an honorable mention for their hard work.

When the exhausted students arrived back in Cincinnati on Feb 8, the fabled “post MUNUC depression” immediately set in.

“You realize that things like MUNUC are what life’s really about. Afterward, school becomes unbearable for a solid week,” Ding said.

Even so, students returning from MUNUC have gained both useful skills and an invaluable experience.

“It’s definitely been very busy and very fun. Being with this group made it a great trip,” McGowan said.