New MUN conference brings intense competition

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The team gathers for a group picture in front of Independence Hall on the last day of the conference. (Photo/Barak Huang)

The Model United Nations (MUN) team recently took on the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) at the University of Pennsylvania for its first time ever. The team left Thursday, Jan. 31 and returned Sunday, Feb. 3, and the competition took place at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Hotel.

Vice President senior Eric Bazail described ILMUNC as an “intense” experience.

Although the MUN team has brought home a “Best Delegation” award from every previous conference this school year, the new conference proved difficult, as they did not receive the same award at this conference.

“I think that any time that you attend a conference for the first time without any genuine perspective on how it functions, you’re in for a difficult weekend, and, especially at a National level conference, it becomes a question of how well you adapt to the secret formula of what the committee chairs want,” Bazail said. The college student chairs of each committee hand out the awards to conclude the conference.

Senior Shirley Wong and junior Barak Huang, as a duo, won the only Best Delegate award at ILMUNC.

“This conference is very competitive, bringing many delegates from some of the top schools in MUN around the nation,” Huang said. “Other conferences may yield even harsher competition, such as National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) and North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN), but it was the uncertainty of what we were entering into that made this conference so different and perhaps even more difficult.”

“We weren’t sure about anything going into this conference,” Huang said. However, senior Shirley Wong (left) and junior Barak Huang (right) show off their gavels, commending them for Best Delegates, following the award ceremony. (Photo/Kenzo Kimura)

Bazail credits the team’s success on drawing from one another. After the team got into the rhythm after the first committee session, the veteran competitors were able to help the novices assimilate. In the end, 21 out of 35 Heritage delegates competing at the conference won awards.

Co-President of MUN senior Mikhail Ben-Joseph agrees with Bazail. “The team stayed cohesive and positive in some of the most trying and stressful moments we’ve ever faced as a club both inside and out of committee,” she said.

Aside from competition, the team embarked on adventures throughout the city of Philadelphia. On Friday morning, the team had the opportunity to take a tour of the school’s campus with current Penn students, Heritage alumni Zihan Kabir, Ryan Methot, Nicholas Fonseca (all class of 2018) and Ryan DelGaudio (class of 2016). Throughout the weekend, many team members went to visit the Reading Terminal Market, established in 1892, where they could make purchases from butchers, bakers, chocolatiers and produce vendors for lunch. Saturday night, the team visited Chinatown and enjoyed meals together at a Malaysian restaurant. On Sunday, they visited Independence Hall, the Constitution Center and the Second National Bank Building.

Team members seniors Isabella Sharifi (left) and Hijaan Mitha (right) tour the University of Pennsylvania campus. (Photo/Kenzo Kimura)

“My favorite part of the trip has to belong to touring the UPenn campus. Although the trip was very exhausting, requiring several hours of committee and very little sleep, the tour of the campus with past alumni was pretty interesting and a good time,” Huang said.

“It was not an easy trip by any means, but it brought us all together,” Ben-Joseph said. The team is prepared to take on the “Superbowl of MUN” at NAIMUN next weekend.

Outstanding Delegates senior Mikhail Ben-Joseph (left) and junior Logan Kapit (right) show off their awards post-conference. The pair represented Canada in the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD). (Photo/Kenzo Kimura)

Sloane is the former assistant editor-in-chief of the 2018-2019 Patriot Post news magazine. She is currently a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.

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