Last weekend, the South Plainfield Model United Nations club was in the spotlight, holding their ninth Model UN conference, SPMUNC 2019. The conference was organized by the Executive Board of the club, including seniors Braedon Dobrynio, Arjun Patel, and Dominic Wojewodka, and junior Vivian Huynh, as well as the advisor of the club, Mr Miten Shah. In this competition, over 40 delegates participated in debate between each other. Each delegate represented either a country or historical figure, and worked tirelessly to research and prepare for over a month before the conference. During preparation, members met for hour-long meetings after school, where they learned about the United Nations, fundamental rules of Model UN debate, and gained new friends. Preparation was taken seriously and each delegate was driven in debate to succeed. The conference itself rewarded delegates that showed refined debate skills, and in each committee 4 awards, Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate, Distinguished Delegate, and Best Research, were offered.

 

The conference had two committees, the UN Department of Political Affairs (for newer delegates) and the 1907 World Council (for experienced delegates), each with its own specific topic. The UNDPA tackled the global issue of the Persecution of Ethnic Minorities, and each delegate represented a country from the United Nations.

Delegates of the UNDPA wrote creative solutions to give ethnic minorities more representation and bring attention to the issue. Delegates also adapted and were able to quickly tackle a major crisis that dealt with genocide committed by 3 different countries (the 3 C’s).

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The crisis committee took a different approach on debate. While delegates still had to debate each other and tackle issues as a group, each delegate also took control of his/her own nation privately through “out of the room” crisis notes The World Council was historically-inspired by the events prior to World War 1, and each delegate represented a world power from the time period. The delegates were faced with many challenges, including mass ideological revolutions throughout the world and chemical weapons attacks on populated areas. The delegates formed their own alliances and brought their nations to battle in all-out war towards the end of debate.

 

The South Plainfield High School students who were delegates at the conference had truly memorable experiences. Junior Chioma Ibeku said, “SPMUNC 2019 was an amazing opportunity to practice my debate skills”. Freshman Ishaan Jani said, “I’m definitely coming back next year!”. Senior Braedon Dobrynio, one of the directors for the crisis committee, said ”It was truly an honor being able to direct this committee”. Senior Vrushabh Shah, a delegate in the crisis committee, said, “Crisis committee at SPMUNC was one of the most fun times I have had in Model UN!”

At the conference, in the UNDPA, Chioma Ibeku, representing Haiti, won Best Delegate; Ishaan Jani, representing Argentina, won Outstanding Delegate; sophomore Rajan Balkarran, representing Spain, won Distinguished Delegate; and freshman Roshan Kenath, representing Rwanda, won Best Research. In the crisis committee, senior Jelinda Montes, representing Italy, won Best Delegate; senior Andrew Rachwal, representing the British Raj, won Outstanding Delegate; senior Justin Billich, representing France, won Distinguished Delegate; and junior Chris Lee, representing the British Empire, won Best Research. Delegates also participated in an alumni panel, where previous Model UN members talked to the delegates about college life, career choices and what they learned from Model UN, as well as how these lessons can be applied to the real world. Members of the alumni panel included:  Matt McCue (Class of 2013, currently at New Jersey Medical School), Aakash Patel (Class of 2013, currently working in financial technology at FlexTrade Inc), Khalil Farid (Class of 2016, recent graduate of Rutgers University), Anthony Gray (Class of 2016, currently majoring in Africana Studies & Public Policy at Rutgers University), Karan Patel (Class of 2016, currently majoring in Political Science & Economics at Rutgers University), Pablo Rodrigues (Class of 2016, currently majoring in Biology at Rutgers University), Diego Vazquez (Class of 2017, currently majoring in Business Administration & Management at Fordham University), Aayush Gandhi (Class of 2017, currently majoring in Computer Engineering at Rutgers University), Ziad Elmasry (Class of 2017, currently majoring in Exercise Science at Rutgers University), Lynda Farinella (Class of 2019, a student at Stevens Institute of Technology), and Vishika Patel (Class of 2019, a student at Rutgers University).

 

SPMUNC 2019 was the first major accomplishment of the club for this school year. Coming up for the club is their next conference Rutgers University Model United Nations (RUMUN) 2019, where they expect to compete against some of the most accomplished high schools in New Jersey. The club also has plans to go to another international conference this year where they will compete against some of the top schools in the world. This would be their second international conference after attending University of Toronto MUN last year. The club also extends a special thank you to the Crisis team, Sam-Fone Cheung, Nihal Abdul-Muneer, Edmond Ngai and Thomas Vu, and student photographer Jenna Elmasry who volunteered their time for the weekend. The club also thanks Mr. Shah who organized the club and made sure the conference was a success. Finally, a special thanks goes out to South Plainfield High School’s administration and the South Plainfield School District’s administration which has routinely supported the club’s endeavors, past and present.