The third and final Model United Nations conference this year after the conferences at Yale Model United Nations and at Budapest, the 15th Boston Model United Nations conference had been a fantastic experience for the school’s Model UN Program with an unprecedented number of Loomis award winners. Led by faculty advisor Rachel Engelke and chaperone Harrison Shure, the trip was the 4th year in which the Loomis Chaffee team had participated within the conference, which was hosted by Boston University at the Boston Park Plaza.
Loomis Chaffee students had reached unprecedented success in the latest Model United Nations conference over Head’s Holiday. Through this trip to Boston, the Model United Nations team had broken a school record in percentage of delegates who had received an award. While enjoying the city environment and focusing on the task at hand, student delegates were able to prepare resolutions and create alliances within their committees, ending the conference with ten awards out of twenty student delegates attending. However, in recognizing that the bulk of the students attending this year were experienced, with only three new delegates out of the twenty students as opposed to a usually larger number of novice delegates, faculty advisor Ms. Engelke stated that “we had more experienced delegates go” in her reason for why the team won more awards this year in comparison with the past.
Described as “challenging and stimulating,” The Boston Model United Nations conference allows students to take on the roles of United Nations officials and delegates, discuss realistic and current issues, and create a resolution through the procedure used through a simulation of a United Nations committee and its procedures. During the conference, students participated in committees within the General Assembly such as the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations, DISEC, and SOCHUM, but were also involved in specialized committees outside of the General Assembly such as the US/Iran Nuclear debate and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
A brief explanation of Model United Nations procedures: The goal of being a student delegate is to successfully pass a resolution paper supported by both signatories and sponsors, and to be able to support and defend the resolution within committee. Within committee, students are engaged in a wide variety of formal procedures which start off with introducing a speaker’s list, a formal series of extemporaneous speeches given by delegates in order to present opinions and stances upon the discussed topic. Within the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations and other General Assemblies (the committee I participated in), demand for spots on the speaker’s list was extremely high due to the amount of delegates present within the committee. After exhausting the Speaker’s List, delegates are also encouraged to motion for moderated or unmoderated caucuses, which allow for less formality a more fluid transition from speech to speech, the unmoderated caucus being completely informal and the moderated caucus being a series of speakers chosen by the chairs via the raising of placards. It was under a moderated caucus that the brunt of the discussion within my committee took place, as it served as the ideal environment for rebuttals, question-answer sessions, and comments on the budding working papers. The unmoderated caucus served as the time in which a couple delegates, including myself started to consolidate a bloc in the hopes of presenting a resolution paper, which was to be presented and voted upon as the culminating conclusion and final decision of the United Nations committee. Understanding the procedures and mannerisms of the United Nations were the first concepts the Loomis Chaffee team had to focus and accomplish within their participation in the Boston Model United Nations conference.
Through my participation in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations alongside Junior Timothy Eng, our discussion on the current issue of United Nations intervention missions within the newly formed nation of South Sudan led to heated debate over topics such as answering the questions of through what kind of intervention the United Nations should use to secure a stable future for the new nation, how to establish immediate humanitarian aid for the people displaced by the ongoing civil war in South Sudan, in what way the United Nations should address crimes committed upon the local populace by not only the combatants but also by stationed United Nations personnel, and how to obtain the support of vital Non-Governmental Organizations from the NGO committee in order to fund a potential resolution.
In forming a resolution with my fellow delegates, Timothy and I were able to form a bloc during the first committee session through obtaining positions on the speaker’s list. During the second day of committee, we were able to consolidate a group of sponsors who spoke with us during moderated caucuses on behalf of our budding working paper, which Timothy and I began to focus on with the members of our alliance over the second night over hamburgers from Grizzler’s. In a successful emulation of a United Nations resolution paper, complete with preamble and operative clauses, the resulting resolution encompassed revolutionary ideas that we presented and passed through the final day of committee.
In addition to being an internationally-driven experience focusing on the work of the United Nations, Boston Model United Nations was a bonding experience for the students on the team. Despite the rather cozy conditions of our hotel room and a state law not allowing cots in the room, Timothy, Senior James Jin, Senior Nathaniel Lyons, and I were able to bond through board games, songs from the musical Hamilton, and Saturday Night Live during our stay at Boston. As the primary source of rest and relaxation interspersed through an originally incredibly busy schedule, time spent within our hotel room served as time in which we were able to complete position papers at the last second and, as the committee went on, our drafts of the resolution for the peacekeeping committee.
The scheduling worked out perfectly for the trip as it was over Head’s Weekend, allowing students to experience Boston through additional time within the three days. Over the course of the three-day trip, my fellow students and I were also able to experience the culture and atmosphere of Boston itself, having enjoyed the scheduled dinners at a Taiwanese restaurant the first night and a Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao, during our last night in Boston. Ms. Engelke, the faculty advisor, commented “it gave us the opportunity to have a little fun over head’s weekend” on the fortunate coincidence that the conference had taken place during the holiday weekend. Due to the unexpected snowfall during one of our mornings, we were unable to attend a scheduled trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, but we were able to enjoy Boston in the middle of the winter season, carefully walking through the icy Boston Common and experiencing the snow-covered city.
In conclusion, the Loomis Chaffee Model United Nations trip to Boston was both an international experience on part of the committee and a cultural experience. Being involved both within the purview of the committee itself in our discussions on relevant events and outside committee in experiencing the food and multicultural aspect of the city lends itself to be a memorable adventure of a Model United Nations experience.