HNMUN: A crash course in diplomacy

Wheaton’s Model United Nations team (MUN) a club dedicated to replicating the experience of the United Nations, recently attended Harvard National MUN in Boston. The team had been preparing for the conference for months and a great deal of work went into making sure they were ready to participate in the event.

Several weeks ago, the team was informed that they would be representing the nations of Uzbekistan and Comoros at the conference. Members of the club were then able to choose the committees they wanted to represent their nation. There was a large range of committees, from International Civil Aviation Organization to the World Health Organization. To prepare for the weekend, the club put in hours of hard work to make sure they were familiar with all the nuanced and complicated protocols involved in participating in committees. To familiarize members with these rules, the club spent many of their weekly meetings enacting simulations meant to recreate situations that might occur at the real event.

The conference lasted from Thursday to Sunday, and students spent most of their days in committee sessions. In their respective committees, students worked together to create and pass a resolution which are documents that address the problems discussed in committee. Committees varied in size; some with as many as 400 students and others with as little as 30 students. When the students were not in committee sessions, they attended social events and got to know the large group of students also attending the conference. More than 3,000 students from 70 different countries came to participate, so the crowd was extremely diverse.

Joshua Steele-Kelly ’17, the president of MUN at Wheaton, is very passionate about the club as a way to further academic interest. “The conference is a fun and enjoyable outlet to continue to explore academics,” he said. Kelly also commented on the unique nature of the conference, “It allows academics to leave the classroom in a student run environment.”

Kelly revived the club after its brief hiatus from Wheaton’s extracurricular scene, as the club has not been active the last couple semesters. There were only a few members who had previous experience participating in MUN at the college level. Sarah Hilton ’16, who also attended the conference, sees a lot of potential in the club’s future growth. “As it moves forward, it is going to be a great club,” she said. Now that the members have one conference under their belts, they will be better prepared for future conferences, and hopefully there will be more returning members in future semesters.

In March, MUN will be attending another conference at Mount Holyoke College, where they will participate in more specialized simulations. In general, both Kelly and Hilton agree that MUN offers students a unique and beneficial way to strengthen their debating skills while learning more about how the United Nations and conflict resolution function.