Over the course of last week, South Plainfield High School’s Model United Nations club competed on the international stage at Vancouver Model United Nations Conference 2020 (VMUN) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from February 14-16, 2020. The conference was highly competitive, being the largest high school-run Model United Nations conference in the world. Over 1400 students from across the world, including students from Uganda, South Korea, Canada, and the United States debated during the 3 day conference that took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver.
Delegates represented historical and modern day political figures as they debated in committees with other students over issues relating to their topics. 12 of South Plainfield Model UN’s members intensely researched their topics and positions and prepared for their committees for over a month before the conference. Topics ranged from power struggles across the globe in the NATO committee and battling the Corona virus in the World Health Organization (WHO) committee. These types of committees were large in size, with up to 120 delegates competing for awards. Some committees were also historical, such as the Japanese Warring States committee, where delegates represented Japanese daimyos during the historical Japanese Sengoku period, as well as the Ancien Regime committee, where delegates represented key figures in the French cabinet during the French Revolution. While these historical committees were smaller in size, they also contained the most experienced and competitive delegates making up these “advanced” committees.
South Plainfield saw success at the conference with four of its members winning awards in their respective committees.Robert Cesareo, representing Denmark in NATO, won Best Delegate (1st place), Andrew Rachwal, representing the Saito Clan in the Japanese Warring States, won Best Delegate (1st place) Justin Billich, representing Thailand in the World Health Organization, won Outstanding Delegate (2nd place),and Jelinda Montes, representing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Canadian House of Commons won an Honorable Mention (3rd place). Members of the Model United Nations club had great things to say about their experiences. Justin Billich stated,”It is truly a surreal experience winning an award at a conference this large”, Yug Modhera said,” Vancouver has been a great experience, and the conference was fun and highly competitive”, and Braedon Dobrynio stated “It has been an honor representing South Plainfield at this conference”.
A special thanks goes out to all of the people who made VMUN possible for South Plainfield Model UN. Firstly, the club wishes to thank Mr Diehl and the Board of Education, for not only approving of the trip but also supporting the club in all of its efforts. Additionally the club thanks its corporate sponsors for helping to fund the conference and making it affordable for the clubs members to attend, in particular, Brigade Capital Management & Chief Technology Officer Tapan Talati, South Plainfield’s Italian-Progressive League, South Plainfield’s Mr. Subs restaurant, and Jack Morris of Edgewood Properties. The club also thanks its executive board, Vivian Huynh, Braedon Dobrynio, Arjun Patel, and Dominic Wojewodka for helping to make this trip possible. Finally, the club wishes thanks to its advisor Miten Shah, for working tirelessly to organize the trip and support the club's members.
VMUN 2020 was just the start of a bright future for South Plainfield Model UN. This was the club’s second major international conference following UTMUN 2019, which was held in Toronto last February. This was also the club’s 3rd conference this school year following SPMUN in November and RUMUN, held at Rutgers University in December. The club will also be attending Rutgers Model Congress 2020 in April, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. The club looks ahead to continue to succeed at its conferences that it attends, continue to fundraise to make these trips affordable, but most importantly, bring in new members, so that everyone can experience Model United Nations in South Plainfield.