MUN club competes at the VAMUN tournament in Charlottesville

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Photo courtesy of Mary Yoder

The Model United Nations club poses for a picture before the closing ceremony.

Clare Kirwan, Page Editor

The Model United Nations (MUN) club competed in the University of Virginia Model United Nations (VAMUN) conference from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7. The club spent two nights in a hotel in the center of Charlottesville and three days collaborating in sessions with a range of students from across the nation. 

History teacher Lawson Yoder has been the sponsor of the club since its inception in 2017.

VAMUN is a three-day MUN simulation held on the campus of UVA, this is the third year that we have attended VAMUN which brings together MUN clubs from all around the country,” Yoder said. “Students are assigned a country and committee to represent and write a position paper summarizing the country’s view on the issues to be discussed in committee. The more research, the better the student is prepared for an MUN.”

Sophomore Yaseen Mousa joined MUN in Sep. of 2020 and was pleased with his performance in the VAMUN conference.

[My] VAMUN [experience went] [smoothly], but at the same time [it was] somewhat exhausting and tiring,” Mousa said. “I remember being very nervous in the beginning before the opening ceremonies began.  As soon as they started, I knew that in order to get ahead and advance above other countries and delegates, I had to be confident in my thinking and speaking as well as be very interactive and collaborative with others.” 

Mousa represented the country of Switzerland in the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), a general assembly committee. Many other students were representing people in crisis committees or focusing on one specific issue in specialized committees.

“[The] most unique and impressive [thing about] MUN [is that it] is totally student led. The adult sponsors have no role in the deliberations; therefore, it is the creation of students. This is great.  Students work together to resolve complicated world issues, learn to collaborate and compromise, and can be proud of their contributions and creations,” Yoder said.

Yoder was involved with MUN when he taught in Brazil. After viewing the diverse student body at HHS, he felt a MUN club would be a great fit for the school. 

“MUN is an incredible learning experience for students. [It helps] to develop skills with writing and research as well as speaking and collaboration and confidence. Through MUN, students gain so much confidence as they are challenged to prepare for and participate in [a MUN simulation].  It is fun, you meet people from all over the country and have fun with others on the trip,” Yoder said.

Mousa originally joined the club because he felt it would bode well for his college applications and it is something he is passionate about. Since Mousa joined during a virtual year, this was his first in-person experience at a MUN conference.

“My favorite part of the [conference] was collaborating with other countries to develop the resolution. I feel like that during this time I was more productive and taking on larger responsibilities and positions that contributed to my group’s success. Of course it was much more fun in person than it was online last year,” Mousa said.

Mousa believes that MUN has enhanced his skills of collaboration, public speaking and critical thinking, all of which he felt he applied at the VAMUN conference.

“In terms of my performance, I believe I did better than I thought. I definitely thought that I would be less involved in developing solutions and in collaboration; however, I thankfully stepped up and got right into it. I proposed several important ideas such as economic solutions, and was one of the main founders of a large bloc, [which is a] group of alliances between countries that passed a resolution at the end,” Mousa said.

Mousa was one of the 16 students that went to the conference. Juniors Lily Fleming and Lena Fulton-Wright, sophomore Clare Kirwan and senior Sam Rooker all received individual awards.

We did great [at the conference]. Everyone represented themselves so well, got involved in committee work, made speeches and formed blocs. Some of our students won individual awards which is a wonderful accomplishment. I am very proud of our students,” Yoder said.

The MUN club will compete in the Johns Hopkins University Model United Nations (JHMUN) tournament in February. If you are interested in joining the MUN club contact Lawson Yoder or Andrew Summers.

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