HACKENSACK, NJ - On February 6 and February 7, 18 students attended the annual Academy Model United Nations (AMUN) conference at Bergen County Academies to simulate the purpose of the United Nations, which is finding solutions to problems around the world. Students in Model UN represent delegates of nations in a range of committees to create resolutions to the biggest issues plaguing the world.

Some students participated in larger general-assemblies, while others, such as junior Caitlin Doughterty, participated in a more challenging committee, Ad-Hoc. Dougherty represented the Minister of Justice in this committee, and was unaware of the topic and her character until seconds before the conference started. 

Dougherty said, “The overall goal of the committee was to focus on whether or not the government was really necessary at all. To be in a Model UN that's questioning whether we need the UN was really interesting.” 

Sign Up for Berkeley Heights Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Students develop their diplomacy and public speaking skills by working with students from other schools on these committees. Junior Desmond Lam represented Attorney General Homer S. Cumming in the Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Cabinet. 

Regarding his experience, Lam said,“We had a lot of disagreements in policies especially in how we should treat farmers and tariffs and taxes but overall we came to a consensus. I learned that you can't always just go in with what you want to do. You have to compromise in order to get anything passed.” 

In the weeks before the competition, the team learned about the procedures of their committees and how to write a resolution, which was the ultimate goal of the conference. 

Megan Wranitz, advisor of Model UN, said, “I think it's a valuable experience because they experience the actual interactions of Model UN.” She continued to describe how delegates were able to learn first-hand the skill of negotiation by working with delegates from other schools. 

At the end of the two days, students were rewarded for their hard work. Representing Mexico together as a double delegation in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee, seniors Danielle Yablonovoskiy and Matt Zhao won the Honorable Mention award. Senior Jessica Zhao also won an Honorable Mention for representing Angola in the Africa Union Committee. 

Yablonovoskiy said, “I was so enthused, particularly, after the first night because of how much I enjoyed the proceedings. When I won an award, I was really excited because it felt good to be successful for my first time at MUN.” 

AMUN provided a valuable opportunity for the students to continue to develop and to learn about diplomacy skills as GL MUN delegates get ready for the next conference at Seton Hall University in March.