From Thursday, January 19 to Sunday, January 22, 12 Concord Academy students traveled to New Haven, Connecticut, for a weekend of debate, diplomacy, and simulated politics. They participated in the 49th Yale Model United Nations conference (YMUN), an event that brought together over two thousand students from 40 countries. Despite this huge pool of competitors, a full one-third of the CA students won awards. These students were Isabella Marie-Selden ’23, Adan de Waal ’25, Lira Schwab ’26, and Peper Granskog ’26.
Model UN is an activity where students (called delegates) take on the roles of nations or political figures to debate real-world issues. Delegates depend on their skills in public speaking, negotiation, and critical thinking to solve specific problems in a committee of fellow delegates. In order to succeed, a delegate must be able to plan effectively but also improvise when things inevitably get out of control. Unlike real politics, Model UN is never a slow activity. There are always arguments, betrayals, and simulated disasters to keep delegates from getting too comfortable. But the most important aspect is to have fun, especially when negotiating can go on for four intense days, as it did during this past YMUN.
YMUN had a wide variety of different committees, ranging from global security to the start of the Trojan War. Mohammed Mustakim ’24, represented China in a committee that dealt with the health and safety of refugees. He said, “my favorite part of the conference was being at the Yale campus, and getting to meet different people from different schools, states, and nations.” This diversity is part of what makes Model UN so appealing. It is not just an excuse to talk about politics. Model UN allows delegates to speak with people that they would otherwise never meet, in a setting that encourages discussion. For four days, a group of CA students were able to leave the real world for a simulation that tested their ability to think. They may not have all won awards, but sometimes in Model UN, the debate matters just as much as the resolution.