McMUN and future plans
On the weekend of Jan. 23 to 26, the Mount Allison Model United Nations team (MtAUN) attended the McGill Model United Nations Assembly (McMUN) conference, an annual Model United Nations conference held in Montreal by McGill University. Over 1,500 students from schools around the world come to Montreal to participate each year.
MtAUN attended with 22 students who acted as delegates in both double delegation and single delegation. Second-year student Ian Richardson, the undersecretary-general of operations for MtAUN, said the difference between single and double delegations is that “In a single-delegate environment, you are responsible for everything; you do the talking and working on resolution papers, whereas for double delegation you can potentially have one person working outside of the room and one person making speeches inside.”
At McMUN, awards are given to top-performing delegates. This year, MtAUN did not win any awards. However, fourth-year student Jonathan Ferguson, the president of MtAUN said that at Mt. A, “We don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that the United Nations is about winning so we don’t necessarily aim to get those prizes.”
There is no standard for how a conference should award students, and Ferguson said that when MtAUN hosts their conference at Mt. A, they do things differently.
“We want to give awards for teamwork, creative thinking, co-operation, creative problem-solving – not things that make the room competitive, because that is not what the real United Nations is about,” he said.
Ferguson said that the club welcomes students with any level of experience: “Our attempt at Mt. A is to make it feel really inclusive is welcome to anyone who wants to give it a shot.”
Rami Bouhlel, a first-year student who has been involved in Model UN since Grade 7, was part of the International Organization of Migration Committee representing Nepal. This committee discussed integration of displaced people across the globe and how to manage that growing issue.
“The whole idea of Model United Nations emphasizes public speaking and diplomatic interaction,” Bouhlel said. “I believe that being there with a lot of different students from across the continent made it absolutely necessary to be very diplomatic and very open-minded.”
First-year students Astrid Krueger and Laura Kurdyak worked in a double delegation. They worked in a General Assembly representing South Sudan in a Political Decolonization Committee. This was about land disputes and better ways to solve territorial disputes.
“The goal was to come up with better ways to resolve territorial disputes, especially territorial disputes that involve ethnic conflicts or conflicts that become violent,” said Krueger. “South Sudan was a really good country to have in that because they’re technically still in civil war. They are the newest country and they have just come out of this massive conflict so it was an interesting position to take.”
This was Kurdyak’s first conference. “I thought it was really cool to see how conferences work and to keep up with what was going on,” she said. Krueger has been doing Model UN since high school. She said that McMUN “was definitely different; in the high school conferences I went to, your chairs are there to help you out and guide you through the topics. I think here you were expected to have a pretty solid background knowledge of your country’s position, the UN and different UN charters and historical events.”
MtAUN will be hosting their annual conference next October. To get involved, go to MtAUN.org or their Facebook page.