Nuclear wars, Game of Thrones, cyber security—there is no better space at Concord Academy to debate pressing issues than Model United Nations. One minute delegates are arguing about how to distribute vaccines to ensure equitable access, and the next minute intense discussion of a wedding proposal during the Roman Empire is taking place. The chaotic essence of high school students combined with the intense discourse of the topics creates an enjoyable yet academic environment for the students to debate in.
Simply put, Model UN reveals how in-depth research, public speaking, and critical thinking complement each other as the delegates take on the role of a given nation or figure. There are six main committees in the General Assembly (GA). They each deal with a particular topic and agenda items are allocated accordingly. This format closely resembles the actual strategy of the United Nations. What differs, however, is an interesting twist on the GA procedure that paves the way for crisis committees. These are fast-paced alternatives to the otherwise predictable nature of the GA procedure that include crisis updates, allowing delegates to display their theatrical side and address issues as they arise. As the Model UN of the University of Chicago puts it, “Whilst General Assemblies recommend and build consensus, focusing on creating and refining frameworks for the nations party to align their actions, crisis committees produce action.” Thus, crisis committees foster a dynamic atmosphere where the delegates often assume characters from various organizations and boards.
The club meetings at Model UN have nothing short of an overflow of enthusiasm for debate shared by a group of strong-willed individuals. One of the Co-Heads, August Sengupta ’24, commented, “One thing I really like about Model UN at CA is that it’s chill and accessible (no experience requirement/tryouts) but a lot of delegates still perform well. So it’s like a good balance between being chill and competitive.”
In addition to the consistent weekly in-person club meetings, this year Model UN has reintroduced the in-person format for various conferences after moving to zoom for the past two years due to COVID. With the conference at Brown University in November soon approaching, there will be many opportunities open to new and experienced delegates. There will also be other overnight conferences hosted at Yale University and even Georgetown University. The latter will be hosting NAIMUN LX, which is not only the Western Hemisphere’s preeminent high school Model UN conference but also the largest student-run Model United Nations conference in the world. As Mei Reed ’25 excitedly said, “You could come out at least once to see if it’s interesting to you, anyone can come. [It’s] totally tons of fun and there’s a lot of really cool opportunities coming up.”
So whether you’re ready to tackle debates on topics ranging from how to undemocratically solve democracy to how to resolve climate change among other nations, joining Model UN is the way to go. These simulations cultivate decision-making and communication skills, while also offering exposure to global affairs through interactions with peers from around the world. Look out for emails on All-School FYI if you are interested in attending a club meeting!