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A Better Model for Model UN

The following article is written by a Y-MUN alumnus and current volunteer, reflecting on what makes our program distinctive. For information on how to join Y-MUN, contact Alex Wolkomir at awolkomir@ymcace.org.

Fierce competition and one-upsmanship. Winning at all costs. Me versus us. These are a few common words many associate with Model UN programs today. From universities to local schools, Model UN has become a sport of highly-groomed teams who emphasize “winning” at all costs. In their terms, winning means awards. It means individual spotlight and glory. It means everything that the UN does not.

First and foremost, Model UN is about collaboration. It is about building bridges – not erecting walls between people – to promote better understanding. In my view, this means that a true “Model UN” should incentivize character and cooperation as metrics for victory – not who can cut others out of a resolution and claim all the glory.

During my time in high school, I attended a variety of Model UN conferences hosted by some of the finest institutions in our country. In college, I considered the prospect of getting more deeply involved in Model UN – only to find it did not represent the values I aspired to develop, and oftentimes, it was a front for partying – either at a conference or as a funding source for the hosting organization through the fees it collected. However, with the YMCA, I saw the light. For four years in high school, there was one Model UN conference I came back to without hesitation. That was in 2006. Years later, in 2017, I have not missed one of the program’s conferences since. And I am not alone – there are alumni who have been […]

By |September 15th, 2017||0 Comments

HarMUNy Times: Humans of MUN

Jaiveer Johal by Nolan Jacobs: current leader of the Saint Joseph’s High School Delegation and personal friend of mine. Some his classmates expected him to be down after his loss of last year’s Secretary General election, but he says that his experience was “really impactful even if didn’t end up being Sec Gen”.  “Getting up on that stage and talking to 2000 people really puts thing in perspective” responded Johal when asked about his experience in the election.  “They were all hearing my ideas; that’s not something that happens to you every day, and it was one of the best experiences of my entire life.”



After the election experience, Jaiveer remains a dedicated member of the YMCA Model United Nations. He hasn’t let any of his accomplishments go to his head, since he does his best to work with the students in his delegation, particularly the first years, to help prepare them for the conference. “We don’t have all the time in the world, but we do our best to make sure the younger generation has the foundation of what they need for MUN.” said Johal in regards to how he and his officers prepare their delegation. Jaiveer loves MUN, specifically being an officer, because “it gives you a chance to look at your own flaws and see how to improve, so it’s definitely worth it.”

Jaiveer Johal also has a unique perspective on this year’s theme and how it applies to MUN. He sees the conference as a chance to get the word out to people, and even “if we put a message out to 1000, 800 will hear nothing, but 200 will hear something. They will get the idea that helping out and doing […]

By |January 7th, 2017||0 Comments

What Makes a Secretary General?

 

The current Secretary General of the United Nations is António Guterres who was appointed by the General Assembly on October 17th, 2016 and took office at midnight on January 1st, 2017. Secretary Generals, for the UN, are elected every five years but can hold two terms. This election was the first time where the candidates had to stand up in front of the UN and present their ideas on what they would do as Secretary General, which is something MUN has been doing for quite some time. Guterres has held four different leadership positions in his political career but all at the same time. He is obviously bona fide for this leadership position, here is a look at our Secretary General candidates and what makes them qualified for this position.

Jessica Kuleshov is currently a junior and have been in Model UN for 3 years, 5 years including the MUN II program. She is from the Community Y delegation and feels she is ready to take a leading role in the program due to her experience and past leadership positions, including President of the Robotics club and teaching gymnastics. She has a deep passion for Model UN and when reflecting on her experiences she recalls one of my favorite resolutions, where delegations thought making a bridge across the Atlantic would be more energy efficient. Outside of MUN, Jessica is very active. She has danced since she was three, can play three instruments, the piano, clarinet, and bass clarinet, and participates in rhythmic gymnastics, choir, jazz band, and robotics. Jessica’s role model is her father, because he had to go through a lot of hoops to escape the Soviet Union and come here, a place with […]

By |January 3rd, 2017||0 Comments

Delegate Spotlight: Pritom Dutta (Hunterdon Central)

This week’s delegate spotlight is on Pritom Dutta, of the Hunterdon Central Delegation!

“I joined MUN as a junior in the ICC committee. Technically, this was my second attempt at MUN because I was a part of the club in freshman year, but I was so intimidated by all of the incredibly well-spoken people that I never went to another meeting. After doing YAG for one year, I decided to take the leap and do MUN and it was one of the best decisions of my high school career.
My favorite MUN memory was in ICC last year on the last day of conference. We had finished all of our cases, so our chair decided to give us some fun cases to deliberate over off of the top of our heads. My case was defending Robert McNamara and the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. We had twenty minutes to research as much as possible before presenting our case. It was easily some of the most fun I’ve had debating because you had to constantly think on your feet and be prepared for anything. I got to work with delegates that I hadn’t really spoken to and we were luckily able to dismiss almost all of the charges.”

By |November 7th, 2016||0 Comments

Delegate Spotlight: Michael Brennan (Community YMCA)

This weeks delegate spotlight is on Michael Brennan of the Community YMCA delegation!

I joined MUN sophomore year, the first year our school offered it. I was already in a lot of clubs, but they were all centered around science or music. I had never been in a debate or big group conversation focused on a goal. So I joined MUN to see how interested I was in that type of thing, and it ended up being exactly what I liked. MUN brings together some of the brightest and most innovative people I’ve ever met. Amazing things can happen with that much potential all at one conference. Everyone you meet brings something unique to the table that no one else could. Sharing these ideas and experiences in the context of productive debate is what makes MUN so effective and worth it, and it is why you can learn so much.

I learned how to form arguments, speak publicly, and meet new people all through my years of MUN. I have been in Historical Security Council every year since I first joined MUN. My first conference, I wasn’t sure how close our committee would be. But, as soon as we walked in on Day 1 of conference, the first thing we all did was trade all kinds of social media and get to know each other. Over the course of conference we became very good friends and most of us still keep in touch!

By |November 2nd, 2016||0 Comments

Delegate Spotlight: Alexa Spagnola (Council Rock South)

This weeks delegate spotlight is on Alexa Spagnola from the Council Rock South delegation!

I joined mun as soon as the MUN officers came to speak to my APUSH class. I was hooked the instant that president opened her mouth. As a sophomore, MUN represented everything I wanted to become: a poised leader in the service of humankind. There was never any hesitation on my part about joining.

Each of my two years in MUN thus far has yielded two completely different yet unquestionably unforgettable memories. As a first-year, I attended conference with a broken leg, and I struggled through actions that are normally dismissed as trivial. From making the trek up and down floors to standing every time I wished to speak to even attending the delegate dance on crutches, I was determined not to miss out on the MUN experience. To my surprise, every single person was willing to help with anything I needed, and I will forever appreciated the people that went out of their way for me.

As a returning delegate, I actively and enthusiastically partook in the World Health Organization. I will never forget having the courage after passing an amendment to be the only delegate to deem an additional amendment unfriendly on a resolution that had a third of the committee as co-authors. The environment of MUN is so amazing that I could represent the beliefs of my country, Singapore, without any personal criticism at all from fellow delegates. MUN love is real!

By |October 25th, 2016||0 Comments

Delegate Spotlight: Jenna Besnecker (Cranford High School)

This weeks delegate spotlight is on Jenna Besnecker , from the Cranford Delegation!

My favorite MUN memory was writing a resolution at conference. I loved collaborating with the other countries to formulate a plan during unmoderated caucus. It was interesting to hear about the problems in the other countries and find those countries that had the same problems as the country I was representing. I really liked hearing everyone’s contributions in order to write the best resolution possible. Although our resolution was not passed, it was still a great experience that I enjoyed.

MUN is a great place for me to meet new people and form new friendships. The conference gives people from different delegations all over the region the opportunity to come together and work as a team to write resolutions. Outside of this, MUN is a place where I have the ability to express my opinions. MUN lets everyone have a voice. All the delegates get a chance to speak on behalf of their country and try to resolve the problems their country is facing. Conference is a judgment free place so you are able to freely speak. Overall, MUN emphasizes students supporting other students, making it a great experience for all those who attend.

By |October 16th, 2016||0 Comments

Delegate Spotlight: Jack Hall (St. Joseph HS)

This weeks delegate spotlight is on Jack Hall, from St. Joseph High School Delegation!

“The memory from MUN that stands out the most to me is when our GA-A alumni advisor sang to us at the end of conference. It was a hilarious moment because this gentleman was so serious and was ex-military. He represented himself in a way where he is all about seriousness and has no time for jokes. Once he had finished, he received a huge round of applause for more than 2 minutes!

At the end of conference, it hit me that MUN isn’t your typical club at school that everyone joins just to put on a college application. It is something more than that. If you put in hard work and effort into MUN, then you will get a lot out of it and enjoy the ride that goes with it. It gives me a sense of unity. All of these delegates coming from so many states really means something to me. It shows that so many people actually care about what is going on in society and somehow, find a way of common ground on topics.”

By |October 2nd, 2016||0 Comments

Delegate Spotlight: Joe Chen (Montgomery)

The Y-MUN Officer program is beginning its Delegate Spotlight project! We’re selecting delegates from various delegations to ask them about their Y-MUN experiences. Meet Joe Chen, from Montgomery Delegation.

“My favorite MUN memory was as a first-year delegate. I remember one delegate in my committee who was a very funny and outgoing person that would never participate. Often talking during other people’s’ speeches, the person seemed to be apathetic towards the debate. However, one session, another delegate unexpectedly yielded time to him and he was caught off guard. Afterwards, another delegate then did same thing. Everyone else ended up joining in on the trend of yielding time to him and encouraging him to speak. It was hilarious to watch the first few times, however, eventually, he knew he had to speak up and began to formulate insightful opinions based on what previous delegates had said. Afterwards, he became an active participant and ended up getting the most out of his conference. This moment showed me how the unity and encouragement of delegates created something both comical and life-changing.”

By |September 29th, 2016||0 Comments

CONA 2016: Through a Delegate’s Eyes

Olivia Bowman, who recently graduated from Rancocas Valley Regional High School, shares her experiences on the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs representing our program on the national stage. Read the original article at: http://www.ymca-bc.org/2016/07/11/teens-cona-focus-impacting-future/

Arriving at the Mt. Laurel YMCA at 9:00pm on a Friday night to take a 13-hour bus ride to Black Mountain, North Carolina may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, for the fifty delegates from New Jersey and Model United Nations they have had their tea cups ready for weeks. For us, theYMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) means so much more than a long bus ride, business clothes and white placards with our names written across them. It means something much deeper. It represents a week of passion, hope and most importantly the Blue Ridge Spirit.

CONA is first about passion. Every delegate arrives with a written proposal solving a global or national issue they are passionate about. From reforming the United States Electoral College, to creating more comprehensive sexual education classes in public schools, each delegate has worked tirelessly to be able to present their proposal in front of their peers. It is breathtaking to see delegates from all over the nation present their ideas on how they believe they can positively impact our world. It is humbling to observe a delegate from Texas and a delegate from Massachusetts listen to each other’s stances with open ears. And it is inspiring to hear a delegate’s voice grow from shaky to confident in a matter of just two minutes.

Next, CONA is about being hopeful for the future. Too many times, millennials are criticized for being too lazy or too distracted. However, at CONA I have been blessed to witness 637 […]

By |September 27th, 2016||0 Comments