US Students Attend Penn Model UN High School Conference
US Students Attend Penn Model UN High School Conference

Fifty-six Upper School students spent the weekend at the University of Pennsylvania Ivy League Model UN Conference (ILMUNC).

The EA team represented the countries of Algeria, Guatemala, and Kuwait on a variety of committees.

"Model UN is a great opportunity for our students to interact with students from around the country and world in a collaborative environment," observed Upper School history teacher and Model UN advisor Rob Trumbull, Hon. "The students learn to write resolutions, parliamentary procedures, and practice public speaking."

More than 3,000 students from around the world attended this year's conference.

"I started participating in Model UN last year as a freshman," explained Mary Cipperman '21. "I like it for a multitude of reasons. The first is that I get the chance to solve 'real-world' problems and to confer with people from all different backgrounds. I can listen to other ideas, practice diplomacy, and come to compromises. Model UN gives me the chance to meet new people and to strengthen the relationships I have with my friends from EA."

Mary served on the UN Committee on Narcotic Drugs. "My topic for the session was drug violence. As both an Islamic nation and a major transit country for narcotic drugs, my country, Algeria, has a unique position on the topic," said Mary. "Although not a narcotics crime, I wrote a clause in my bloc's resolution on money laundering, specifically in regards to drug trafficking and the funding of terrorism. Without being unnecessarily specific, I basically proposed to reform the Model Provisions on Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, Preventative Measures, and Proceeds of Crime."

"My committee was the Trojan War! We were the 'Greeks,' and we were battling the 'Trojans' in the room next door," explained Nick Christos '20. The goal was to see who could successfully and strategically win the war. My role was Idomeneus, the King of Crete. So I had to negotiate with other kings to allocate ships, resources, and soldiers."

Committee assignments for the EA delegation also included the Special Political Decolonization Committee, Special Political Decolonization Committee, and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council. EA students also served on specialized committees, including International Criminal Court, 73rd Congress of the United States, the Peace of Westphalia, and the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs.

Natalie Johnson '20 took a creative approach on the Legal Committee. "The best part of the conference was definitely when Jayne Morley '20 and I wrote a rap about the importance of education in battling extremist groups and performed it in front of our committee," said Natalie. "It was fun to write and perform and we thought it was the best way to get everyone's attention and get our points across."

"In committee sessions, we sometimes diverge from debating our papers," said Mary. "As a committee, one time, we decided to do a rap battle in Spanish. Half the people in the room had no idea what the Spanish meant, but we could appreciate it nonetheless."

"It is always fun to walk into a committee and see a student from Episcopal addressing the delegation on a particular issue," said Mr. Trumbull.

"This year I was in a Crisis Committee which means that everything we do is rushed and pressured," said Nick. "Once over the weekend, you face a 'Crisis,' an unplanned issue you must face during the night when everyone else in the hotel is asleep. So I was woken up by staffers knocking at my door at 12:30 a.m., and I was told I had five minutes to change, gather my files, and rush down to the committee room. Once I arrived we worked through the night until about 3:30 a.m. While I was very tired, I loved every minute of it!

"I don't always have the chance to solve problems with people from around the world. Model UN is really a chance for me to learn about global politics by solving real issues," shared Mary.

The 35th session of ILMUNC was held January 31 - February 3 at the Downtown Marriott. Students from 130 schools from ten countries took part in the conference.