By Angelina Alias and Fiona O'Reilly
On the weekend of November 5 to November 7, the New Hyde Park Model United Nations Club kicked off the 2021-2022 school year by attending their first virtual conference of the year: William and Mary’s High School Model United Nations Conference. A group of about 20 students, led by adviser Jonathan Novak, represented countries, people and organizations from around the world. Between general assemblies, specialized agencies and crisis committees, topics such as human rights, the Arctic Council, the TikTok Board of Directors and many more helped expand students’ knowledge on foreign policy and international issues.
At the conference, a total of eight delegates won awards in their individual committees, bringing great excitement and joy to the club. The delegates who won included junior Nikson Alex, sophomore Nicole Donnelly, junior Brenda Bolouvi, junior Ethan Mehta, sophomore Rebecca John, sophomore Grace Heskial, sophomore Fiona O'Reilly and sophomore Guneet Hanjra. This achievement for the NHP Model UN Club highlighted the hard work and research that the students had put into the conference.
“I was nervous initially, but once the debate got rolling, everything came naturally, and all my nerves went away instantaneously...”
“William and Mary’s conference was the best I’ve attended throughout my MUN career. It was such a comfortable environment to be engaged in,” said sophomore Rebecca John.
Since COVID-19 hit, Model UN has been attending conferences virtually rather than in person. The last conference the club attended in person was in February 2020. Since then, students who were used to debating in person have had to adjust to a new style of debate.
Source from Brenda Bolouvi
Model UN students virtually gather for their February 2020 conference.
“One of the good things about virtual conferences is how much easier it is to communicate with others. It's way easier to see what resolutions people are working on so speeches can be more specific. However, I miss being able to walk around a room and listen to what people were working on. I also miss some of the activities that would happen outside of the committee, such as going out together or to the delegate dance,” said senior Daniella Canning.
Though “MUNners” in the senior class have had the opportunity to attend conferences
in person, juniors and sophomores in the club have only had the opportunity to debate virtually. For some, WMHSMUN was the first conference they attended.
“I was nervous initially, but once the debate got rolling, everything came naturally, and all my nerves went away instantaneously,” said sophomore Nicole Donelly.
WMHSMUN was a great experience for many of the students, making them excited about the prospect of being able to go on away conferences and having the opportunity to meet and collaborate with new people. Students are looking forward to experiencing their first in-person conference and putting all their MUN skills into practice.
“I’ve only experienced virtual conferences through zoom, and I know that experiencing an in-person conference will be totally different, but I’m looking forward to that moment,” said sophomore Grace Heskial.