Model United Nations: GMUNC preparation

How the aspirations for 2019-20’s Model United Nations have played a part in planning the first conference of the year

Michelle Chen

Internationally ranked as a top 50 Model United Nations (MUN) delegation, the MUN club holds a meeting every Tuesday and Wednesday lunch in history teacher David Hartford’s classroom. During meetings, they learn about international issues and practice debating about these topics. The club has earned various awards and continues to undergo improvement.

“I think one of the main goals that we have is actually changing our mentality a little bit,” President and senior Jiani Tian said. “For the past years in the club, we focused a lot on just winning awards. But I think this year, one of our main goals is just changing club culture. Instead of focusing more on awards, we’ll focus on just helping everyone improve and actually do well at conferences, but not necessarily [to] win.”

While Tian says the MUN community is positive, she still sees room for improvement on the values of the club, such as the emphasis placed on building a community. To accomplish this, Tian believes in the use of bonding events to strengthen connections and improve interactions between members.

“What we really maintain as a club is also family mentality,” Tian said. “A lot of our club members, when they join the club, choose to stay because they really like the people that are in it. So I think by having more socials and more interactive events, we hope to keep a more tight and family-like member base.”

Three-year member and junior Soumil Gupta believes another factor that promotes membership is knowledge of the subject.

“As we are starting off, we are continuing to increase our attendance, and getting people interested and invested in the club,” Gupta said. “Originally, something such as Model UN might be daunting because of the perceived complexities, but as we go deeper and deeper into the topic, and as we [go to] the first conference, people become really invested and see how they have [the] potential to do great in this club.”

This year, the first conference is at Gunn High School, also known as GMUNC, which will take place on Oct. 6. Old and new members alike have been working to prepare for the conference with the help of more experienced members.

 “MUN has a lot of branches and our training branch has been working really hard to have these weekly meetings, and just making sure that everyone knows how to do their research, how to practice their public speaking,” Tian said. “And since MUN’s learning curve is so high, we do need a lot of preparation.”

First-year member and sophomore Jia Desai, who recently moved from India, was elated when she discovered there was a Model UN club at MVHS. Desai’s interest in the club started back in India when she was introduced to the topic by a friend and decided to try it out. 

“The thing I love about MUN is that over the whole process of researching about the topic — you get to learn so much about different countries, whether it’s been appointed to you or not,” Desai said. “It also gives you a chance to communicate with a lot [of other] people, so it’s great social as well.”

Gupta agrees that his experiences in the club have given him a variety of valuable skills as well, many of which he has put to use outside of MUN.

“[MUN] has helped me personally when I was part of an outside of school organization,” Gupta said. “Using the skills acquired over time in Model UN, I was able to talk and communicate to others. I was also able to apply that to my leadership position there, and overall, present, lead and organize the group better, because that is something that’s very important in Model UN as [well].”

MUN has aided Tian in her future as well, helping her make decisions on her path in college and beyond based on what she learned in the club. For instance, her decision to pursue a global health major has been heavily influenced by the topics she has focused on in MUN.

Upon reflection, Tian realizes how far the club has come. At the same time, she acknowledges how far they still have to go, something that has shaped the goals she sets for herself and the club.

“I’m really proud of this club because MUN started off really small,” Tian said. “Four years ago, we were nowhere near as big as we are now. I think I’m just really proud of the way the club has built itself up literally from the ground, and still managed to stay as one of the biggest clubs on campus.”