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    • Hopkins Model UN Committee Chairs pose for a picture at their home conference.

Hopkins Model UN: World Politics on The Hill

Tyler Cipriano ’19 and Dylan Maloy ’19
This December, Hopkins Model United Nations hosted four schools and over 100 student-delegates for its third annual Model UN conference.
This December, Hopkins Model United Nations hosted four schools and over 100 student-delegates for its third annual Model UN conference.

Since August, Grace El-Fishway ’18, a member of Model UN, has been organizing and preparing for the event by creating invite lists, a website for the conference, itself, and committee plans. Student-delegates’ skills and experience levels ranged as the conference held both novice members looking to participate in their frst conference and experienced members returning from past years.

Model UN members solve modern problems while simulating real United Nations’ meetings. During most Wednesday activity periods, students meet with heads Hunter Congdon ’17 and Corrine Wilklow ’17 to prepare for upcoming conferences.

Before the event, groups of student-delegates are placed into either general assemblies or specialized committees. Within each assembly or committee, student-delegates act as representatives of different countries and governmental fgures. The goal of each committee or assembly is to fnd solutions to a given problem that best fulfll the need of each country involved. Wilklow said, “As a delegate, you have to prepare beforehand and come to committee sessions ready to participate.”

Along with conference responsibilities, students are required to assemble information on the conference’s topics beforehand. “You need to write a position paper to understand your country’s position and be able to throw away your opinions or preconceptions about the topic,” said Congdon. Teodore Tellides ’19 describes the process and benefts of the position paper:“You learn how to conduct research [on] a large and complicated topic.”

At the Hopkins conference, students covered topics such as the Black Lives Matter Movement, Police Brutality, Afrmative Action, and the “First 100 Days Plan” of President Trump. Student heads acted as the chairs of each committee, and gave their student-delegates specific crises to discuss and solve while following parliamentary procedure: a form of discussion that prevents student-delegates from talking over each other.

Student-delegates have the power in committees to make independent decisions that would attribute to the crisis being dealt with in “real time.”

The conference experience often has a long-lasting efect on its participants. Congdon said, “Model UN has given me a lot of insight into how politics work - the back-room deals, the horse trading, and the negotiations and debate. I have also learned so much about diferent countries and perspectives that I had never heard [about] before, and how they relate to prevalent international issues.”

Along with researching countries’ perspectives and Model UN, itself, participants improve upon public speaking skills. Wilklow said, “[The club] has given me a lot of confdence in speaking in front of large crowds; general assemblies can range from 100 to 400 delegates and in order to speak you have to walk up to the front of the room and speak into the microphone. Maybe that does not sound intimidating to some, but Model UN has defnitely helped my public speaking.” While at conferences, participants also have time to socialize and connect with other students from diferent schools. Eric Martin ’19 said, “It is always fun to meet new people with similar interests, and Model UN allows you to do that.”

Although the Hopkins conference possesses the necessary requirements to make up a real Model UN conference, it is known for taking a comfortable approach. Tellides said, “Instead of having to speak in front of 200 high schoolers who have spent months preparing the conference, you can just informally talk about world policy in a cozy classroom.”
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