From February 15-18, the St. Andrew's Model United Nations Team attended at the North American Invitational Model United Nations Conference (NAIMUN), an intensive four-day conference with 3,500 high school students from around the world in attendance. This year's conference was hosted by Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Students participated in more than 20 hours of formal discussion and debate, trying to find solutions for many of the world's biggest problems. The eight students from St. Andrew's, with a wide variety of MUN experience, were led by Team co-presidents Tad Scheibe '19 and Noor El-Baradie '19 and faculty advisor Will Rehrig.
Over the course of the weekend students engaged in a wide variety of topics and committees, including discussing Women in Armed Conflict (Miles Abney '20 and Ann Yancey Basset '19); Water Scarcity and Resource Management (Wade Anthony '20) from the perspective of the Kingdom of Jordan; and the Iranian Nuclear Deal from the perspective of the People's Republic of China (Andy Dupree '20 and Isabel Hwang '20). Students also participated in the Summit of the Maori Iwi, 1860, as Chief Rewi Manga (Tad Scheibe '19); Park Geun-hye's Cabinet, 2016, as the Minister of Employment and Labor (Eddie Mo '20); and JJ Roberts' Cabinet, 1847, as the Minister of Native Affairs (Noor El-Baradie '19).
In preparation for the conference, students met weekly to research their topics and the positions of their assigned country. In advance of attending the conference, students were required to write a position paper summarizing their knowledge on the topic and the perspective of their assigned country. Students also reviewed parliamentary procedure and how to formally debate and discuss a topic in a MUN setting. Students were able to work together to prepare for the challenges that come when discussing such nuanced and complicated problems.
At the conference students attended committees representing their assigned country to discuss the selected topics. The conference allowed students to forge new friendships and cooperate with high school students representing other nations, as they grappled with some of the most pressing current issues along with major historical events. Outside of their committees, students explored DC and toured Georgetown University, talked with Georgetown students about their college transition, tasted some of DC's culinary delights, and met high school students from around the world. Students were also able to discuss infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa with Moussa Blimpo, an economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for the African Region at the World Bank. Noor and Tad experienced a MUN tradition by attending a midnight crisis where they were woken up in the middle of the night to meet with their committee to discuss a crisis that had just unfolded involving their topic. Isabel and Andy were awarded Honorable Mention for their work as the People's Republic of China discussing the Iranian Nuclear Deal. This is an incredible accomplishment given the level of competition at NAIMUN.
While the weekend was incredibly busy for the students, they left a little sleep deprived but excited about the experience and proud of their work discussing such complicated global issues. The weekend was a huge success for the Saints as every student challenged and developed their world view and pressed to find the solutions necessary for some of the world's biggest problems.