Experience at the National Model United Nations Conference


Paul Londrigan

Students from Pace's Pleasantville campus at the Fall 2019 National Model U.N. Conference in Washington, DC.

Stefano Ausenda, Contributing Editor

From November 8 through the 10, just over twenty students from Pace’s Pleasantville campus joined over 900 other people from across the country and around the world, at the Fall 2019 National Model United Nations (NMUN) Conference in Washington, DC.

The conference is run almost exactly like how the actual United Nations is run, with people acting as delegates representing certain countries, and advocating their country’s stances on certain issues. At this conference, the issues discussed in the various committees ranged from disarmament of nuclear weapons, to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, to the crisis of internally displaced people and refugees. At the conference, half of the students from the Pleasantville campus represented the delegation of Nicaragua and the other half represented the delegation of Turkmenistan.

The main reason why I initially took this class was because I’m minoring in political science, and the class time fit my schedule. Also, I heard some positive things about both the class and the conference from a couple of people who have taken it in the past. So I thought I would give it a shot and see where it goes. Needless to say, I had no idea for the journey that I was in for, but I went in with an open mind.

The conference consists of committee sessions; some that last three hours, and some that last longer than that. With each committee session being full of negotiations, mergers, and at certain times extreme agony and frustration, there is certainly never a dull moment. As someone who had very little expectations, positive or negative, before going in, I can honestly say that my experience at the conference was one of the most interesting and unforgettable experiences of my life so far. However, I will be the first to say that it’s definitely not for everyone.

A couple of things surprised me about the conference, one of them being, as I mentioned earlier, how similar to the United Nations that the conference is actually run, and how much some of the delegates, typically the more experienced ones, conduct business similar to how their delegates would in the actual United Nations. For just one example, in the committee that I was in (which was General Assembly 1), a lot of the delegations wanted to work with the delegation of the United States, because they knew how much influence that they hold in the actual U.N., and in world affairs in general.

Unlike myself, Pace senior Kaitlyn Houlihan has been a part of Model U.N. at Pace for the past five semesters, and has been head delegate for the Pleasantville team for the last three.

In addition to teaching her the value of self-confidence, Houlihan’s experience with MUN have taught her a lot more about the world around her. “[Being part of MUN] has broadened my scope of what I can do with my life once I finish law school,” she said.

Houlihan hopes that through this conference, everyone who participated, from the “rookies” to the “vets”, were able to learn something about themselves and push what they are mentally capable of. “The best part about being head delegate is that I am in the position where I am able to support and encourage my peers to leave their comfort zones,” she says.

The Pleasantville campus won six awards in total at the conference, including Honorable Delegation awards for the delegations of both Nicaragua and Turkmenistan.