Twenty delegates from the Model United Nations (MUN) team travelled to Providence, RI this past weekend to compete in BUSUN, the Brown University Simulation of the United Nations, and they swept the competition, with thirteen students taking home either a best, outstanding or honorable delegate award.
The twenty delegates chosen to go to BUSUN won their spots earlier in the year by performing well at AHPMUN, the MUN conference hosted by AHS. One of these delegates was junior Daniela Velez, who won Best Delegate for the Rashidun Caliphate committee at BUSUN. Velez and other delegates in this committee were placed in 656 CE, right after the murder of Islamic caliph Uthman, and were tasked with choosing Uthman’s successor and expanding and unifying the caliphate.
“Even though I could have fought for my character, Talhah, to gain the position of the next caliph, my tactic was to remain diplomatic,” Velez said. “Working together [after choosing a new caliph], we passed more than ten resolutions detailing our future plans to unify and expand the caliphate.” However, when one of their appointed leaders attacked the capital, “the committee quickly dissolved into war,” Velez said. Through the use of accusatory propaganda, war camels and an eventual peace treaty, Velez showed her diplomatic prowess and won Best Delegate.
“I think I won because of my diplomatic strategies, as I constantly would suggest compromises that encompassed everyone’s wishes,” Velez said. “I also gave over 50 spontaneous speeches in the three days I was in committee.”
Seniors Chloe Brown and Anya Gunewardena both took home a Best Delegate award as well. Brown, a member of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute committee, was tasked with finding solutions to the destruction of cultural heritage sites and African countries’ withdrawals from the International Criminal Court, while Gunewardena, a member of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees committee, worked with her fellow delegates to “aid refugees and displaced people impacted by the recent increase in organized crime in the Northern Triangle, find ways to mitigate the loss of life and livelihoods of refugees and create a plan of winterization for relevant refugee camps,” she said
Brown credits her victory to her resolution: “A lot of the kids in my committee were amazing speakers, so what really set me apart were my specific and detailed solutions,” she said.
Gunewardena attributes her win to her high standard of diplomacy. “BUSUN really emphasizes diplomacy,” she said. “I made sure everyone had a voice within our group as well as commended opposing groups on their work, despite the fact that we wanted our group to come out on top.”
These three Best Delegates all speak highly of MUN not only for its ability to improve their extemporaneous speaking skills, diplomacy techniques and teamwork tactics, but also for how fun it is to be able to spend a weekend with other students who all share the same interest and are all working towards the same goal.
“When you work with a group of people to finally turn in this huge 20-page resolution with solutions to real-life issues facing the world, you feel good,” Velez said. “I’ve gained this sense of satisfaction.”
While MUN often takes up a lot of its members’ time, students are often more than willing to dedicate the necessary hours to get the experience. “In the past four years I have played the delegate of numerous nations, including Egypt, France and Morocco, as well as corporations, universities and even people in committees such as the U.S. Senate and the Civil Rights Movement,” Gunewardena said. “I truly believe Model U.N. is the club you want to be in if you are looking to gain knowledge on various cultures and international relations. It teaches you inherent leadership qualities, like problem-solving and public-speaking, and how to calmly approach various situations you may encounter in the real world.”
Below is a full list of award winners:
Best Delegate – senior Anya Gunewardena
Best Delegate – senior Chloe Brown
Best Delegate – junior Robert Gillespie
Best Delegate – junior Rayyan Merchant
Best Delegate – junior Azzara Nincevic
Best Delegate – junior Daniela Velez
Outstanding Delegate – senior Harrison Arnberg
Outstanding Delegate – senior Sarah Mitchell
Outstanding Delegate – senior Asa Zaretsky
Outstanding Delegate – junior Satya Alagarsamy
Honorable Delegate – senior Anna Rogers
Honorable Delegate – senior David McDonald
Honorable Delegate – sophomore Treasure D’Souza