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How MUN Came to South Texas

A dripping wet Friday afternoon and a cold Saturday morning on December 15th and 16th marked the 3rd installment of STIMUN, the biggest MUN conference in the South Texas circuit. With over 70 students STIMUN is the biggest conference to be hosted in the South Texas circuit. Students from all over the IDEA Public Schools district along with some independent delegations attended the conference eager for the biggest conference of the season. Topics ranging from Cybersecurity to Immigration were on the floor for debate. The 2-day sessions saw direct debate, collaboration, and a steady flow of directives from those in Crisis committee. All while resolutions were signed and voted on in various other General Assembly committees. Lunch breaks saw old fellow delegates meet again and new friendships and alliances formed. The sights, sounds, and atmosphere were one of a properly large conference reminiscent of the East coast circuit.

Despite being the biggest conference in South Texas, STIMUN has not been around for as much time as other big conferences. 4 years ago, this conference did not exist. In fact, 4 years ago the entirety of the South Texas Circuit did not exist. It is thanks to a partnership between a worldwide education company and an independent school district dedicated to the success of its students that MUN flourished in a completely new region.

The impact this partnership has had on students has been monumental.

To truly understand how an entire region was introduced to MUN in the time it takes a high school student to graduate, we must look back at 2014 when a group of students from IDEA Mission College Preparatory went to a Model United Nations Institute session at Georgetown. The students left with the physical resources to create a Model UN program, but even more than that they left with the leadership skills that they needed to create a thriving program. According to former MUNI mentor Laurabeth Goldsmith “Every student developed their public speaking, research, debate, and negotiation skills.  But for me what was particularly incredible to witness was the confidence that students developed through Model UN.” Through this pilot program a partnership between IDEA Public Schools and Best Delegate was formed. Along with funding from the federal GEAR UP grant and extensive work from Sylvan representatives Yanira Aguilar and Ronaldo Najera this partnership was able to flourish and empower an entire school district with MUN. In a matter of months, ground work for future students was laid out, funding and ideas were put in place, teachers and advisors were trained, and the program expanded to other schools rapidly creating the South Texas Circuit as we know it.

Pilot IDEA Mission delegation

Pilot IDEA Mission delegation

Today the partnership between IDEA Public Schools and Best Delegate enables students to have an immersive experience at various MUNI summer programs. These students then return to their campus and start their own MUN clubs and expand the system to new schools.

Thanks to the perseverance of students and work of many associates, an entire region been introduced to MUN. It is partnerships and associations like the one between IDEA Public Schools and Best Delegate that empower high school students to start their own delegations and expand MUN to a different region. Just as a group students brought MUN to theirs.

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What I Miss About MUNI

Model United Nations offers invaluable opportunities for students to explore global issues, meet delegates from all over the world, and develop public speaking, negotiation, and leadership skills. I attended my first MUN conference as a freshman in high school, and I was immediately hooked. The following summer, I participated in the Diplomat Program of the MUN Institute, which was an extremely influential experience. After another school year of numerous conferences, I began to explore the world of Crisis committees. I enrolled in the MUNI Crisis Program, which was filled with many national security debates and exciting crisis simulations. Here are the things that I miss about my MUNI experiences:

 

1) Lessons and activities

The lessons and activities at MUNI were fun, educational, and memorable. Through impromptu speaking exercises, mini-debates, and conference simulations, I developed skills and confidence as a MUN delegate. During one of my favorite activities, delegates were each given three random words, and they had to deliver an impromptu speech related to the crisis topic, ISIS in Libya. At first, the task was intimidating, but it helped me gain confidence in impromptu public speaking….it was fun, as well! All of the lessons I learned at MUNI allowed me to grow as a delegate, and this aspect of the program made the experience truly influential.

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2) The MUN Mentors

At MUNI, campers learn from MUN Mentors, who are accomplished delegates and student leaders from colleges and universities around the world. The MUN Mentors are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, and they offered valuable lessons MUN and public speaking skills. In addition, the MUN Mentors provided advice about college applications and college-level MUN, and it was great to hear about all of their experiences.

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3) The People

What I miss the most about MUNI is getting to know all of the amazing people I met throughout the week. At MUNI, I was exposed to a diversity of individuals with a shared eagerness to learn about global issues. As someone from a relatively small town, MUNI was an incredible opportunity to engage with students from other countries and to expand my own perspectives. The friends I met at MUNI inspire me to take continuously seek out new ideas and experiences, and I could not have asked to meet a better group of people. I am still close with many of my MUNI friends, and I look forward to many reunions!

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My experiences at MUNI encouraged me to pursue MUN and to expand my understanding of global issues. MUNI’s community of delegates and young leaders from all around the world inspires me to engage with many different individuals and opinions, and to contribute to global dialogue and advocacy. As I begin to make choices about college and my future, I can say definitively that MUN has shaped my academic and career goals. MUNI has allowed me to discover my true passions and to be a part of a global community of young leaders.

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Top 10 Benefits of Academic Summer Camps

Summer camp is a tried-and-true tradition around the world – from Beijing to Barcelona to Baltimore, students of all ages gather together to spend their school vacation participating in fun summer activities. It’s well known in the field of child psychology that summer camp has great benefits to kids’ social skills and general mental and physical health.

But what about academic summer camps? They might seem a little less cool than spending a summer playing capture-the-flag or learning how to surf, but they’re vital to students’ success in high school, college, career, and beyond. Here are the top 10 benefits of academic summer camps!

Student & Staff1. Learning from positive role models
At academic summer camps, students are being taught by experts in whatever field they’re studying – whether it’s coding, Model UN, or space exploration! This is a chance for students to be mentored by accomplished role models, whether they’re professors, college students, or other professionals. Young students will understand how these individuals have accomplished their goals of becoming successful in their chosen field, and be inspired by their hard work and determination.

2. Development of self-reliance and independence

Just like traditional summer camps, students will develop stronger senses of self-reliance and independence while away at an academic camp. They’ll be 100% responsible for their own learning and progress, and will have to juggle being away from home while also focusing on learning. This helps students prepare for college, where the newfound sense of freedom and independence can sometimes be jarring.

3. Activities for all types of learners

Many students can get bored with learning in typical school environments – after all, sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day is not for everyone! Academic summer camps often incorporate different activities and environments into their curriculum so that students can get the most out of their learning experience. From field trips and guest speakers to group projects and open house presentations, these departures from regular classroom experiences can benefits learners of all kinds.

DSCF16904. Making new friends & meeting people from different backgrounds

According to the Century Foundation, “researchers have documented that students’ exposure to other students who are different from themselves and the novel ideas and challenges that such exposure brings leads to improved cognitive skills, including critical thinking and problem solving.” In addition to the cognitive benefits, exposure to new and unfamiliar cultures and backgrounds lead students to develop a greater understanding of the world around them. Students will ultimately be better prepared to succeed in a world that is more racially-, ethnically-, and religiously diverse than ever before.

5. Development of new social skills

According to the American Camp Association, attending summer camp can have great positive impact on students’ social skills. At academic summer camps, students must work together on projects and support each other through assignments and new lessons. These experiences, in addition to recreational social activities, help students to make new friends, develop their empathy, and improve their overall communication skills.

6. Exploration of new academic topics and fields of study

When you think about it, asking 18-year-olds to choose exactly what career path they’d like to pursue is a bit crazy. These students have barely had enough time to consider their schedule next week, let alone what kind of job they want for the rest of their lives! However, attending academic summer camps allows students to explore brand new subjects that they might not have even heard of before. By diving deep into new fields of study over the course of a week of camp, students can learn more about their own interests and be a bit more comfortable with choosing a college major down the road.

7. Experiencing life on a college campus

College is a huge transition point for students. They’re going from living at home with their parents to living in a dorm with hundreds – even thousands – of their peers. Because most academic summer camps are hosted on university campuses, attendees get the chance to experience this way of life before it’s permanent. They’ll get used to dining halls, walking to class, managing their own time, and all of the other facets of college life. This helps students transition to college full-time when they’re ready.

8. Exploration of new cities

Many students don’t have the opportunity to travel when they’re in middle or high school – whether it’s busy schedules, budget restrictions, or a little bit of anxiety about leaving home. However, attending an academic summer camp in another city (or even country!) can be a transformative experience for students. They get to explore different ways of life, meet new kinds of people, and develop a sense of the world at large.

DSCF58579. Avoiding the “summer slide”

According to numerous studies, students are extremely likely to experience learning loss during summer vacation – also known as the summer slide. Because they’re not engaging in learning every day, students forget what they learned during the school year. However, by participating in learning-based activities, students can avoid the summer slide. An academic summer camp is the perfect way to engage students and make sure they don’t forget the critical skills they have already learned – all while having fun and meeting new friends!

10. Preparation for college & career

It’s no question that college admissions are incredibly competitive these days – and after college, the competition doesn’t stop once the job search rolls around. By attending an academic summer camp, students can gain the skills and experiences that colleges and employers consistently look for in applicants, including communication skills, critical thinking skills, and dedication to specific subjects. The lessons learned at academic summer camps don’t just dissipate after camp is over – they endure for a lifetime.

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5 Things Only Crisis Delegates Understand

Crisis is a kind of committee that is fast-paced and gives unexpected scenarios for delegates to solve. Not only is this incredibly challenging, but it is also incredibly fun to work with. Coupled with unexpected results, funny moments, and waves of excitement crisis is one of the most memorable forms of committee. Here are a couple things only crisis delegates can understand.

  1. Updates Are Always Part of a BIG Master plan

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To first-time crisis delegates, updates from crisis may seem random and even senseless. Even experienced delegates sometimes wonder what the update “56 goats have infiltrated your complex” has to do with the storyline. But, through their mysterious ways, crisis always finds a way to be able to make every single update be significant to the story, all which lead to the huge realization that each of those goats had wires that sent information back to Russian spies. Touché crisis, touché.

2. Committees Can Get Very Unrealistic

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Crisis delegates will understand the following situation: You’re dealing with a full scale invasion from a neighboring country and ask your good pal the United States for help. In response your ally writes a directive to build a big wall to keep invading soldiers out of your country. Original? Yes. Realistic? Not quite. This is without counting the other scenarios where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson becomes the president of the United States or the Illuminati take control of earth.

3. Crossing Your Fingers When Crisis Comes In To Give Updates

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Whenever crisis comes into the room with an update an astounding silence falls among delegates in the room. No one but the crisis staff knows what is about to happen and so everyone hopes for the best. Everyone wonders if their directive helped or if made things worse. Either way, all crisis delegates eventually find themselves crossing their fingers hoping that crisis doesn’t bring devastating news your directive failed.

4. Having No Idea Who Won What

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Awards are not everything in Model UN, not even remotely. However, it is always nice to be able to take something home. While GA committees are challenging there is always a way to have a slight prediction about who won what. When it comes to crisis these predictions are as accurate as anything posted on tabloids, crisis works in mysterious ways and has a strange way of rewarding delegates.

5. Getting Bored of General Assembly

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There is nothing wrong with attending General Assembly committees as debate and resolutions make for a good time and can be very entertaining. However, crisis delegates come from a committee in which explosions, hacking, and assassinations happen regularly. This means when crisis delegates go back to General Assembly it can seem a tad boring; after all us crisis delegates love the thrill of receiving live updates and coming up with instant solutions to ever changing situations

 

BONUS: If There Are Hostages There Are Backup Generators

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Many crisis simulations feature a hostage crisis in which delegates have to negotiate or break out the defenseless hostages. Many delegates think that cutting the power to force a siege upon the captors is a great idea. Of course, crisis know this would be way too easy and so whenever the directive to cut the power to the building or territory is issued it is followed by the classic line: “You have successfully cut the power. However the captors happen to have generators inside which they are using to power their facilities.” Touché crisis, indeed.

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Before vs. After My First MUNI Conference

Model United Nations is an incredible way to meet new people and develop your social/public speaking skills, and learn more about international affairs. As a delegate, you never stop learning new ways to improve for conferences and as a positively influential member of the international community. After attending the Model United Nations Institute this past summer, I can say with confidence that my abilities as a delegate and a future member of the political community would not be the same without the expert advice I received and the diverse community that I was exposed to. Here are just three of the multitude of ways that delegates can expect to improve at MUNI:

1. Leadership In Blocs

Every delegate, whether they consider themselves a novice or an expert, can run into issues showcasing leadership in a block, especially with extremely strong and assertive peers. As a relatively new member of the Model United Nations community when I went to MUNI last summer, I definitely faced this issue, as I was surrounded by some of the most impressive delegates I had seen in my MUN career. However, my peers were not just impactful delegates, but they were also amazingly supportive, creating an environment of respect that allowed me to blossom more as a leader and gain confidence. And I was certainly not the only one who improved as a delegate in this way, as almost all of the delegates I interacted with became noticeably stronger leaders throughout the course of the week, showcasing the immense influence MUNI has not only on my development as a delegate, but on the leadership skills of almost all that attend.

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MUN Institute at Harvard University July 24th

2.  Vocabulary and Terminology

Anyone who has ever been exposed to MUN, from a parent that has observed for an hour to attending a weekend conference with hundreds of delegates, know that there is a lot of advanced (and sometimes confusing) terminology that goes along with the functioning of debate. When I first joined Model UN, I definitely struggled with some of the terminology, for even some of simplest actions require intricate vocabulary. However, through the extremely detailed lectures that take place throughout the week, delegates at MUNI are able to not only learn the terminology used in a conference, but adapt their own process of debate in order to best implement their newly gained knowledge. Personally, I know that I experienced this improvement on the topic of mergers, for I was not only able to learn the exact workings of merging different resolutions, but I was also able to practice this skill during different simulations throughout the week, allowing me to improve my abilities as a delegate.

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MUN Institute at Harvard University July 17

3. Diversity in the Community

As someone who has grown up in a small, rural town in Massachusetts, USA, for her entire life, one of the most shocking realizations for me was to see just how many people from around the world are united through MUN. Through MUNI, delegates are able to converse and befriend people from all around the world, from California to South Korea. While before MUNI, I did understand that MUN was an international organization, I did not realize just the extent of the international community that exists, and, more importantly, the number of different perspectives of people from all around the world. Through my week at MUNI, I was able to not only meet delegates and staff from across the international community, but I was also able to learn and recognize new and foreign ideas separate from my own American bias, an experience that I am not usually able to indulge in, and therefore one that I am extremely grateful for. As a result, my experience shows the amount of appreciation that one can gain from the diversity of the MUN community by attending a MUNI conference.

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MUN Institute at Southwestern University June 12th

MUNI not only fosters a respectful and supportive community for delegates, but it also provides a haven for students across the world that, despite being from different places and having different opinions, share the love of politics and bettering the international community. Through MUNI, delegates can not only expect to grow in debate, but also as thriving members of the international community. Therefore, for me, while learning the terminology and workings of conferences is extremely important, it is not nearly as important as developing my understanding of different cultures and political opinions through the diverse community that MUNI provides, this being what I will take with me far into the future.

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Looking to the Future: How to Expand Model UN to Middle Schools

Model UN has offered countless benefits to high school and university students, both academically and socially, including improving public speaking, debate, and research skills. However, Model UN is often overlooked in middle schools, especially in middle schools that are unaffiliated or unconnected to local high schools. Many middle school teachers have either not heard of Model UN or are not sure how to start and train a team. What is the best solution to this issue? Have local high school and university Model UN teams start a team themselves! The purpose of this article is to teach high school/university club leaders how to start and lead a middle school Model UN team.

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Finding a Local Middle School

The first step that needs to be taken to start a middle school team is to identify local middle schools that do not currently have a Model UN team. The initial point of contact in this process is the school administration, usually the Principal, Assistant Principal, or Club Coordinator. Then, you will likely be referred to social studies or world language teachers who have displayed interest in serving as an advisor for the team. Effective communication with interested teachers is key to maintain interest, so it is recommended, in addition to email, to schedule an in-person meeting with interested teachers to explain what Model UN is and your vision and plans for the team, and to address any questions or concerns that they potentially have. This process will likely be different for each school, but these are typically the main actions that need to be taken to gain school approval for starting the team. After gaining approval and securing a team advisor, work with the advisor and other teachers to advertise to the students. Create advertising materials such as posters and flyers to distribute to students and create a video or write an advertisement that teachers could show to their students.

Training

The training process for middle school teams has several key distinguishing factors when compared to high school and collegiate training. It is likely that students aged 11-14 are not as aware of the current events and pressing global issues that are typically discussed in Model UN committees. It is also possible that these students are not sure of what the United Nations actually does, or what it even is! This is why it is crucial to explain the basics of the United Nations during the training process. However, during the initial training sessions, it is best to focus on simple non-MUN related topics. Examples of such topics include the school dress code policy or who should be the Super Bowl halftime performer. These topics require little to no research, as they mainly rely on prior knowledge or opinions, and allow the training to be focused on understanding parliamentary procedure and public speaking skills. After this, more relevant yet simple MUN topics may be introduced, such as climate change, poverty, and food security, where the focus of training will have a greater emphasis on research and debate skills.

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Conferences

After completing training, members will probably want to attend an actual conference. However, there’s only one issue: there is a severe lack of middle school conferences outside of large metropolitan areas. If this is the case, hosting your own mini-conferences are a great option! Hosting 1-day informal conferences for the team offer a variety of benefits to both the middle school team and the mentor high school/collegiate team. The middle school team will benefit from this by being able to participate in a locally-based conference for little to no cost, while mentor team will gain significant experience in conference organizing. This serves as a valuable opportunity to train members of the mentor team for chairing and conference secretariat positions, thus providing more knowledge and experience that can be applied to hosting your own high school/collegiate conference. You can also invite other local middle school teams or novice high school delegates to attend the conference, allowing members of your middle school team to gain exposure to the local circuit, thus further preparing middle school students to enter the high school Model UN circuit.

Conclusion

By starting a Model UN team at local middle schools, you can ensure that students will be prepared to jump right into Model UN at the high school level. Students will also be significantly more qualified and experienced to hold club and conference leadership positions sooner in their high school Model UN careers. It also expands the local middle school circuit and increases the amount of participants in the high school and collegiate circuit. And most importantly, students will be sooner equipped with the various skills offered by participating in Model United Nations.

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Greetings, fellow MUN enthusiasts!

IMG_6772My name is Rose Jacobs, and it is my pleasure to serve as the Editor of Best Delegate’s MUNI Alumni Media Team for the 2017-18 year. Best Delegate, and my time as both camper and staff at the MUN Institute in particular, played an important role in my growth as both a delegate and a person, and I’m excited have an opportunity to share this passion with the rest of the MUN community. The diverse, enthusiastic, and incredible group of Media Associates working on the MUNI Alumni Team feel the same way — we are all looking forward to an amazing year of articles, listicles, quizzes, videos, webinars, and so much more as we share our love of the MUN Institute with the rest of the Best Delegate family!

To introduce myself, I am a freshman in the Dual BA program between Sciences Po and Columbia University currently living in Reims, France, though I grew up in Chicago and it will always be my first home. I’ve been a part of the Best Delegate team for the past couple of years, first as a member of the MUNI Alumni Board back in 2015-16, then as a Media Associate for Training Content. I attended the MUNI Ambassador Program at Georgetown the summer of 2015 and worked as a Residential Counselor last summer; my time at MUNI introduced me to some of my most fond memories and closest friends. Regarding general MUN experience, I’ve attended over 26 conferences as a delegate everywhere from China to India to Washington, D.C. and have served as the Secretary-General of three conferences on top of that, including the largest conference for middle school delegates in the Midwest. But this article isn’t about me — it’s about the amazing team of Media Associates who will be working with me to produce exciting, engaging content for everyone from MUNI Alumni to those still thinking about attending the MUN Institute.

If you ever want to contact me for any reason, my door is always open at rose@bestdelegate.com. I’m looking forward to an awesome school year!

Cassidy Baratta – Media Associate 

Cassidy Baratta is 15 years old and lives in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. She is a sophomore at HopkintonScreen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.06.13 PM High School. She joined her school’s Model UN club in the winter of her freshman year, and over the past year, she has grown a passion for Model UN. She followed this passion through her freshman year by attending the UMASS conference and Westwood Crisis Conference, as well as attending the MUNI Ambassadors session at Harvard University over the summer. Recently, she was given opportunity to be the vice president of her school’s Model UN organization for the upcoming year, and plans on attending many conferences as well as another session with MUNI in the upcoming year. This is Cassidy’s first year serving as an intern for Best Delegate, and she is very excited to be a MUNI Alumni Media Associate for the upcoming year!

Lexi Rothschild-Edwards – Media Associate

IMG_2166-300x209Lexi is currently a high school senior who hopes to study international relations and economics in college next year. Since her freshman year of high school, her love for MUN has shaped her passion for global politics and human rights. After participating in the MUNI Diplomat and Crisis programs at Columbia University in 2015 and 2016, respectively, Lexi went on to win numerous awards in both General Assembly and Crisis committees. This summer, she attended the Yale Model UN Institute, a selective international relations and Model UN program for high school students offered by the Yale International Relations Association. Motivated by her public speaking, debate, and leadership experience from Model UN, Lexi recently implemented a Mock Trial program at her high school and looks forward to leading her team in its first statewide tournaments later this year. Additionally, Lexi serves as the Deputy Communications Director for Social Media at World for Refugees, a global youth-based organization dedicated to raising the profile of the refugee crisis worldwide. Lexi is extremely excited to join the Best Delegate MUNI Alumni Team this year!

Anusha Tummallapalli – Media Associate 

IMG_0658 (1)Anusha Tummallapalli is a senior at Marvin Ridge High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. She serves as the founding President and Head-Delegate of her Model UN team. Anusha is a two-time alumna of the MUN Institute, enrolled in the Diplomat program in 2016 and the Secretary-General program in 2017. Her favorite aspect of Model UN, besides learning about pressing global issues and meeting interesting people, is chairing and conference organizing and hopes to further pursue this interest during her collegiate Model UN career. While her MUN experience as a delegate so far has consisted of traditional committees, she is interested in exploring crisis committees and Press Corps in future conferences. Outside of Model UN, Anusha enjoys photography and videography, traveling, and learning new languages. She is currently a student in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and is interested in pursuing a degree in International Relations in university. Anusha is looking forward to work with Best Delegate and the Media Team!

Daniel Ordonez – Media Associate 

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Born American in Laredo, TX and raised in Reynosa, Mexico by two Mexican parents, I got into MUN freshman year after a short stint in debate club where I realized I liked MUN more than formal debate and started the MUN club at my school. I became Secretary-General for the next 2 years and attended the MUN Institute in the Diplomat and Ambassador programs.  During those programs, I met a lot of people, some whom have become great friends, and got the full MUNI experience. I’m currently a high school junior and advisor to the Secretary-General of my MUN club. Outside of MUN, I also love cars and am a huge Formula 1 fan.

 

 

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Running a One Day – Glenbrook South High School (GBSMUN III)

The following article was written by the Secretary General of GBSMUN III, Yoana Sidzhimova.

When I first think of one day Model UN conferences, the most significant memory that stands out to me is the terror I once felt in attending them; this is because of how good the local teams would be and the transition I have made to being this year’s GBSMUN III Secretary General. I say this because I think all veteran Model UN delegates have the same emotions towards one day conferences, a shift from fear that we would not be good enough in the beginning to a feeling of appreciation and gratitude because of the growth we have been able to see in ourselves.

 

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The delegate of France speaking in the IAEA

This year, the Glenbrook South High School Model UN Conference was held on April 15th, 2017. Our conference was attended by 185 delegates and hosted nine committees: five general assemblies (The World Health Organization; The DIsarmament and International Security Committee; The International Atomic Agency; The Social Cultural and Humanitarian Committee; and The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), two crisis committees (The Security Council and The Aztec Empire of 1519) and  one joint crisis committee (The JCC Cuban Missile Crisis with the Soviet Politburo and Executive Committee of the National Security Council).

 

Glenbrook South prides itself on the intimate yet well prepared committees we host each year. Rather than creating a plethora of crisis committees that would be difficult to manage from the perspective of crisis staff, we create very specific and well orchestrated crisis committees due to the amount of committees we provide. We believe this creates a better learning environment for the delegates attending our conference, offering them a crisis experience that follows through for the entire conference.

 

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Secretary General Yoana Sidzhimova

Without a doubt, what makes GBSMUN so successful is both simple yet crucial: dedication. Dedication factors in two significant ways, through the time put into developing the conference and selecting a Secretariat that is equally invested. Traditionally, the GBS MUN team begins planning for our conference upon the first board meeting of the new board for the upcoming year in May- eleven months before the conference will actually occur. When preparation begins early, a heightened attention to all intricacies that form a conference is inevitable. When becoming Secretary General, what I valued most was the advice I acquired from previous secretary generals of Glenbrook South and other local high schools- so here are some of my most important pointers:

 

1.Quality over quantity.

From facilitating dias evaluations at our conference, I noticed a trend in favorable feedback regarding the amount of committees we offered and the effort put into them. I believe a delegates experience is more positive with committees that demonstrate the time put into them. Hosting many committees with crises that do not get as much attention will make delegates want more attention and angry with the strung out nature of the committee’s staffers.

2.Set due dates for secretariat members and keep with them!

For our conference, we created target dates for the following milestones in developing our conference: committee preferences for chairs, topic submission, first draft of background guides, second draft of background guides, and final draft of background guides with format review. Making check-in dates ensures all work that needs to be done is being completed and relieves unnecessary headaches that could arise closer to the conference!

3.Communication is key.

It sounds cliche but I think it’s incredibly important. For our conference, I made a goal of communicating with our entire secretariat once or twice a month through email in order to keep everyone aware of what is coming up and what needs to be completed. We also created group chats through iMessage and GroupMe between crisis, the dais staff, and myself to discuss how things are going both in preparation and on the day of.

4. Plan in advance.

While this might be a broad statement, I think it is most applicable in regards to planning successful crisis committees for a one-day conference. For GBSMUN, all crisis dais’ were required to prepare three potential crises for both topics, to be able to influence debate in a certain way, the preparation included: the form of the crisis (newspaper article, skype call, visit to committee, etc.), the props needed to complete the crisis, a brief description of the crisis, and a goal for the crisis to determine relevancy to the committee. On the day of, crisis staff is pulled in a thousand different directions- having a preset plan for at least the beginning of your conference allows crisis staffers more time to prepare and develop better crises for the duration of the entire day.

5. All hands on deck…

…especially two hours before the conference is finished. The last two hours of your one-day conference will be high strung, but it is possible to avoid forgetting an important aspect to ending your conference right. First, I suggest setting a time deadline for awards and locking a google document at the said time, to ensure that all chairs have submitted their awards before the deadline. Second, assign separate individuals to the following tasks: completing a google slide presentation with award templates with correct award winners, printing all awards, checking all awards are correct, counting points of schools to determine winners (if you award delegations), and communicating with dias staffers on how awards will be given out. The awards ceremony is the final impression you are able to give of your conference, make sure to do everything in your power to portray a final great impression!

You might have thought that one day conferences are not that difficult to organize because of the longer travel conferences you have attended, but if you are hosting a one day conference you need to forget this mindset. While it might seem as if one day conferences are easy to orchestrate, they will function fluidly with a mindset which believes they do not require much work. It is your job to put in the hard work and time to make your conference successful to make it look effortlessly executed to other teams on the day of. You’ve got this!

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Advisor Institute Interview with Chad Wright

Last Friday marked the end of the Advisor Institute at Georgetown University. The Advisor Institute, which is part of the Model United Nations Institute, allows advisors to simulate their students’ MUN experience and learn information that can greatly improve their club. Although we could tell you all about the Advisor Institute, it is better coming from someone who actually attended it!

Chad Wright is a History and Social Sciences Teacher at Kettle Run High School in Fauquier County, Virginia.  In addition, he serves as the Model United Nations Advisor at Kettle Run.  Mr. Wright established the Kettle Run High School Model UN team in 2009 as a way to expand on the geopolitics course he was teaching at the time.  It was a way for students to expand class discussions and debate on International Relations beyond the structure of the course into a club format.  In 2013, the club had some ambitious students who wanted to take the club to the next level by creating a team to compete on the Northern Virginia Model UN Circuit.  Since 2013, Kettle Run has attended over 25 conferences in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region.  Mr. Wright recently attended the Best Delegate MUN Advisor Institute at Georgetown University in hopes to learn the processes of Model UN to become a better advisor and coach to help his students build their academic skills and continue growing the Model UN program.

What did your week at the Advisor Institute consist of?

Throughout the week we learned what it is like to be in our students shoes in preparing for a Model UN conference.  At times it felt like a pressure cooker that students are often put in to complete their research and papers in a timely manner, especially first time delegates. This was a valuable learning experience as it will help to make us better coaches as MUN Advisors because we now know what it feels like from a student perspective. We learned all aspects of the Model UN process: What MUN is, Why do you do it, research, hosting a conference, and building a club. We also learned the SPEAR (Speeches, Programs, Events, Agreements, and Reports) process which allowed us to learn the fully optimized research process and simulate an actual conference experience.  In regards to public speaking a big takeaway was the Hook, Point, and Action that Ryan Villanueva taught us.  Outside of the MUN classroom setting, the advisors from around the world were able to network with each other, debate ideas about developing clubs, and cultivating a culture of student leadership. Finally, we participated in a DACOR (an organization of foreign affairs professionals) event which allowed the advisors to meet retired foreign service officers to speak on foreign affairs and Model UN.

Why do you think it is important to simulate what your students go through every conference?

Simulating the conference experience really helps advisors become better coaches for the students. Knowing what our students go through during their process leading up to a conference can help foster development of new members as well as experienced delegates. The idea of learning the process from the beginning to end allows the advisors to better recruit and explain MUN to school administrators and community partners.

What sparked your interest in going and enabled you to attend the Advisor Institute?

What piqued my interest in the MUN Advisor Institute was when one of our delegates attended the Best Delegate Crisis Program last summer at Columbia University.  I witnessed improvement in the performance of this delegate in all aspects of Model UN especially in regards to leadership.  In January, I signed up for the program and applied for a grant from our local education foundation that provides grants to teachers to attend high quality professional development opportunities.  In partnership with the Fauquier Excellence in Education Foundation, I was awarded a grant in April to attend the MUN Advisor Institute.  I want to thank Best Delegate and the Fauquier Excellence in Education Foundation for affording me this high quality professional development experience.  Their support in this unique experience will directly impact our students at Kettle Run and Fauquier County Public Schools.

How do you see the Advisor Institute benefiting you and your club moving forward?

The path forward for Kettle Run Model United Nations focuses on effectively training our delegates through the MUN process in partnership with Best Delegate.  Our goal for the 2017-2018 academic school year is to build our club in order to host our first annual conference: KRUNMUNI.  Networking and working with Best Delegate will help open the door for our students to Model United Nations in elementary, middle, and high schools in Fauquier County Public Schools.

Would you recommend attending the Advisor Institute to other teachers/advisors? If so, why?

I would highly recommend attending the MUN Advisor Institute to other teachers/advisors interested in developing a club or applying what they learn to their classrooms.  The value of learning about MUN from Best Delegate as well as the shared passion in networking with other advisors from around the world is a worthwhile experience and helps foster professional development.  More importantly though is the academic skills that our students gain from Model UN which is instrumental to their futures.  Model UN empowers students to build their skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.  These skills create leaders that are resilient, goal directed, and ethical global citizens who become problem solvers to our global issues.   Model UN teaches future skills that employers want from their employees.  Model UN students are college-, career-, and civic-ready to enter our increasingly globalized world and workforce.


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My Model UN Story: Joey Moore

My name is Joey Moore. I am a rising Senior at Kettle Run High School in Northern Virginia, and I have worked as a Media Associate, Editor, and Article Coordinator for Best Delegate.

I joined Model UN at the beginning of my Sophomore year. My first year we went to around 6 conferences, the majority of which were high school level. When we went our first university conference I decided it was time I try something I had heard a lot about: a crisis committee.

Best DelegateMy first crisis committee was a simulation of the Spanish Morocco War and got me completely hooked. I realized I loved crisis committees but wanted to get better, and that was when I found out about the MUN Institute. I decided to attend the Crisis Program at Columbia University during the Summer between my Sophomore and Junior year.

The MUN Institute was definitely the best thing to happen to my Model UN career. Over that week, I learned everything there is to know about MUN and developed better communication and public speaking skills. I also made friendships with people around the globe that I still keep up with today. What really made the week great was the fact that we were being taught by university level delegates that we could relate to. 

Following MUN Institute I was much more confident and had more fun when I went to conferences. One day on the MUNI Alumni Facebook page I had seen that they were looking for Media Associate interns to post articles. Because I was passionate about Model UN I knew this was something I would love to do.

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Since then I have used my skills I learned at MUNI to win Best Delegate awards at some of the biggest conferences, but more importantly I have had the chance to gain experience through my internship and post articles on this website. Because of MUNI I have had the chance to work on a team and write content about something I love. Without MUNI I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have today and wouldn’t feel nearly as confident when at conferences. MUNI has helped develop me as a person and my club as a whole, and is something that I attribute a lot of my success to.

MUN summer camp

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