Gavel is struck: Model United Nation brings home committee awards

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Delegates discuss as they try to find a compromise for a resolution.

A gavel is struck—a resolution has passed. No, this is not a court hearing; it’s a typical conference for delegates at Model United Nations (MUN).

MUN conferences feature delegates—students who become well-versed in a country’s economic and political affairs—who make decisions and vote during the conference based on the past precedent set by their country’s values, actions and opinions.

“Sometimes you have a limited amount of information to work with because your assigned nation may not be as involved in the topic as others,” treasurer and sophomore Eshika Abbaraju said. “It’s also easy to be overwhelmed, but as long as you try to prepare early, stay calm and put your best effort, it will all pay off in the end.”

On April 16, Irvine High School’s MUN team participated in a conference at Northwood High School. The in-house conference, which invited other MUN clubs across the Irvine Unified School District, featured a crisis committee with its focus on World War II.

“A crisis committee is a fun twist on a general assembly in the Model United Nations,” secretary-general and junior Mannat Bawa said. “Students get to role play characters in historical or fantasy situations. There’s some that resemble a Harry Potter committee, or even take you back to the Vietnam War. The endings are unique as characters can attempt to take over the world or even trigger wars.”

Having been the advisor of Irvine High’s MUN for over three years, Spanish teacher Darrin Hurst was interested in the club’s ability to teach skills on important global issues, as well as how to perform parliamentary procedures and caucuses.

“The most exciting part about Model UN, for me, is that it is really student run,” Hurst said. “I offer them my opinion, I give them the framework and the venue for the conference, but more than anything the students are the ones that go out and execute. So it is really neat to see that.”

Members of the club prepare for conferences a month in advance. After receiving a synopsis of the topic of focus from the conference committee, each delegate prepares their own individual research. Furthermore, they prepare their position papers, an opening statement, a binder full of research and more.

Members of MUN enjoy a lunch break in the middle of a conference.

“I do research on my country’s general policy towards the issue,” under-secretary general and junior Rishi Padmanaban said. “I dive deeper into these policies and learn about why they are effective or ineffective in the nation, while formulating ideas on how to resolve it. After that, I begin to write a position paper on my discovery.

Typically lasting six hours, Model United Nation conferences end with a resolution that is written based on the agreements and consensus delegates present during open floor debate.

“There’s a lot of discussion involved, with delegates trying to make sure their ideas are added correctly,” director general and sophomore Ryan Lin said. “Most resolutions are formed with a group of people in the conference that have the same interests as you. I often feel rushed while doing them, but there’s a feeling of satisfaction and relief after a resolution’s been finished and passed.”

In addition to resolutions, awards are also handed out. Six delegates received awards in their respective committees for the conference on April 16. Aashay Mody, Ishaan Gaikwad and Rishi Padmanaban all received research awards. Ryan Lin received a Commendation, Mannat Bawa an Outstanding and Situ Chintakunta received a Best Delegate.

“Attending the MUN conference at Northwood was incredibly rewarding,” Padmanaban said. “I’m proud of myself and my fellow delegates for receiving awards. I think it is a testament to the effort that we put as a group to prepare, and I could not be prouder.”