Student Point of View: MUN Conferences Test Real-World Skills

Written by Ben Fogler ’21
On Saturday, December 5th, shortly following the recent MSMUN Northeastern conference, eight students from the CRS Model United Nations team participated in the third virtual conference of the year. Four eighth-graders, two seventh graders, and two sixth graders attended the six-hour event. The conference, DIMUN, was an invitational no-prep on the topic of International Space Militarization and Exploration. It presented issues of weaponry in space, the gender gap in astronauts, and equal space access to all countries. Almost 100 other students from 22 different schools, including some in New Jersey and Florida, also participated in the fast-paced, crisis-style conference. The students were split into three committee rooms, with delegates Ben Fogler (Indonesia) and Elizabeth Lapides (Turkey) in COPUOS 1, Brooke Travis (Brazil), Caleb Stokes (China), and Mira Haber (Japan) in COPUOS 2, and Priya DuBois (Pakistan), Cole Miranda (Sweden), and Teyah Braunstein (USA) in COPUOS 3. 

Throughout the conference, students worked together to solve problems, called crisis updates, given by the crisis committee in the moment. A few examples of the crisis updates given included an unknown country testing nuclear weaponry above India and Pakistan in direct violation of the Outer Space Treaty, an unfixable oxygen leak in the International Space Station, and a UFO circling Earth. This conference posed the challenges of thinking on your feet and adjusting to the naturally slower pace of a virtual conference in the faster setting of a crisis conference. Additionally, the conference was a no-prep, meaning delegates got the information about the topic and the country they were representing the day of. The CRS students worked to get their opinions across using the skills they’d been cultivating about negotiation, speech writing, public speaking, and dealing with domineering delegates. For many students, it was their first crisis conference, and they did exceptionally well under the trying circumstances. 

During the conference, eighth-grader Elizabeth Lapides represented Turkey in COPUOS 1 and won a Best Public Speaker award. The next Model United Nations conference is the United Nations of Greater Boston (UNAGB) Climate Summit on February 27, 2021. The CRS MUN team has had a stellar season with 10 total awards won at three conferences. Each MUNer has worked hard and we’re looking forward to resuming next year.
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