They Just Want to Have “MUN”

This weekend, the Model United Nations team will represent Horizon Honors at their first conference of the year at Westwood High School.

Naya Johnson, Columnist

Whenever I mention the Model UN club, not only am I greeted with puzzled expressions, but also with intrigue. Students who are curious will ask questions concerning its purpose, and will oftentimes find themselves even more confused by the various events that take place during a conference. The common misconceptions are that Model UN is either an international modeling camp, or a group of politically active teens trying to “solve” world peace. We are neither. Model United Nations, on the contrary, is a simulation of the United Nations, where students from one or more countries get together to discuss and propose solutions to global crises or impending issues (in the form of mock United Nations conferences). It’s an exciting and stimulating club, despite its relative newness. It was first formed in the August of 2016, but as the club was mostly seniors, the majority of the experienced students participating has declined. Instead, novice delegates (the newbies of Model UN) constitute a majority of the Horizon Honors Model UN team.

That being said, the novice delegates of the club will be attending their first conference this year on Saturday, October 28. Amongst the attendees are Yosra Zourob, junior, and Sarai Crawford, sophomore.

The Horizon Sun: What topic do you have to address at the conference this Saturday? What was it like when preparing for it, especially with the lack of experience?

Zourob: Within the conference, I will be representing Turkey in the General Assembly. Our topic is “Ensuring Human Security in Post-Conflict and Conflict Countries.” I like the topic; it’s something that I’d choose, even if it wasn’t assigned. I also like the fact that I was able to find out what both countries and nonprofit organizations are doing to solve global problems, and the efforts that are being devoted towards human security.

Crawford: My topic is “Addressing Pandemics and other Global and Regional Health Crises,” and I represent Turkey in the World Health Organization. I like it because it will always be applicable, regardless of the circumstances. I’ve done as much preparation as I could, but at the same time, I feel anxious, because I’ve only been acquainted with the written aspects of the conference so far, and not the actual negotiations. I’m excited.

The Sun: What was the greatest challenge you faced in preparing for this coming weekend’s conference? What made it difficult?

YZ: The hardest part was learning how to research, and being able to distinguish between reliable sources and inconsistent ones. I think the specific formatting of the paper made it hard to perform research, since your sources made up a large portion of your paper.

SC:  I definitely struggled with writing the policy paper, because I had to learn a new format of writing that’s entirely different from anything I had encountered before. There’s formatting, like Yosra said, as well as special vocabulary, and banned terms, that you need to be acquainted with in order to write well.

The Sun: How do you think the Horizon Honors Model UN team will do as a whole at the first conference of the year?

YZ: I think that anyone who has done their research and has a good foundation in their topic will do well. I think that, personally, I am ready. The only worry I have concerns the public-speaking parts of the conference.

SC: I think we’ll do well, and that the new atmosphere will allow to bond with each other. We’ll also learn how to deal with different types of people in a variety of situations.

The Sun: What expectations do you have of the conference?

YZ: It’ll be a learning experience, if not more. I hope to learn more about how the United Nations functions, and I can’t wait to meet new people within the committees! Plus, I’ll get familiarized with different or similar perspectives on my topic.

SC: I plan to get to know our team better, and build upon these experiences. I also want to learn as much as possible about foreign cultures, diplomatic relations, and how to deal with difficult people under even more difficult circumstances.  

Club vice president, Allison Hale, sophomore, is proud of the novice delegates and is excited to see how they’ll adjust to the Model UN environment, and encourages them with a segment of advice: “Get out of your comfort zone, and don’t worry about what the other delegates will say to you. Half of the people at the conference won’t know what they’re talking about. Make experienced friends, and most importantly, have fun.”