Students Travel to NAIMUN
On February 14, a group of twelve Hopkins students will leave for Washington DC to represent Hopkins at the North American Invitational Model United Nations conference (NAIMUN).
Founded in 1963, NAIMUN is one of the oldest Model United Nations conferences. NAIMUN draws many top schools from around the globe to compete each year, exploring real world problems and negotiating to find solutions. When asked about how NAIMUN differs from other model UN conferences, History teacher and Faculty Advisor for Hop MUN Dave DeNaples responded that “this conference is very large and international. Brown, for example, draws about 600 delegates mostly from New England, while NAIMUN hosts 3000 delegates from all over the U.S. and the world.”
Students attending NAIMUN are assigned to one committee as well as a delegation to represent within that committee. When asked why she chose the Organization of Islamic Cooperation committee, Rayane Taroua ’20, who will represent Djibouti, responded, “The two topics we will discuss, Youth Unemployment and its Impacts on Political Stability as well as Islamic Financing and Public-Private Partnerships are both new to me. I am Muslim and I am currently taking Islam in the Middle East so this committee felt like the right fit. I want to learn more about Islam and the Middle East in the 21st century and this is a great way to do it. ” Julia Tellides ’20 chose her committee, the Crisis Provisional Government of Cuba in 1898, because she plans to use her extensive knowledge of the subject to gain an edge in negotiations. She explained that she not only “wrote my term paper on the aftermath of the Spanish American War” but also chaired a committee at HOPMUN last year focusing on the outcome of the Spanish American war. Although she has considerable background knowledge, Tellides elaborated on how this committee will still present challenges: “My committee is bilingual so debating can be in both Spanish and in English. I have never heard of a committee that is bilingual. I think the committee will be a challenge, but I also think it will be fun to practice my Spanish.”
In order to represent their delegations accurately and to negotiate and debate successfully, students must prepare prior to the conference. Lily Meyers ’20 will represent Kenya in the Peaceful Use of Outer Space committee. Meyers described how she will, “prepare for the conference by reading articles, watching news videos, reading the background guide that the committee chairs write, and writing a research paper.”
When asked about how she plans to apply what she has learned from previous conferences to NAIMUN, Taroua remarked, “In my experience with Model UN, every conference is what you make it. You can definitely slide into a conference with minimal effort and limited research but then you would not get as much out of it. Model UN is really about personal passion and drive.” Katherine Takoudes ’20 will represent Pep Guardiola, the Former Manager of FC Barcelona in a crisis committee that is unique in that each delegate represents a prominent political or cultural fgure rather than a country. “The main lesson I’ve learned from my past MUN experiences is that you should not be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people as well as learn about history and current events in a completely unique atmosphere,” explained Takoudes.
While NAIMUN serves to simulate rigorous negotiations of the UN, it also provides students with a welcome break from the stress of school and a chance to explore new cities. Taroua commented, “I have never been to Washington so I am really excited to explore the city. There is a great group of students going so I am really excited to relax and enjoy time away from the Hill.”