CDS Hosts First-Ever MUN Event

Christina Chkarboul ‘21
Story by Christina Chkarboul ‘21

Earlier this week, I sat down with 
Ms. Moonan to discuss The Country Day School’s first-ever Model United Nations event – CDSMUN – held last Friday.
Ms. Moonan, one of the club’s two faculty advisors, explained that while the club had been formed years ago, unfortunately the CDSMUN had experienced a bit of a lull in participation, with just a small number of mostly Grade 10s and a few Grade 11s and 12s attending regularly. Last year, the scene shifted, as Mr. Young, Head of Social Sciences and the club’s other faculty advisor, decided to reinvigorate the committee. Ms. Moonan attributes the root cause of this revival of MUN at CDS to Abraham Litwin-Logan joining the school and the club. While Mr. Young and Ms. Moonan had been pretty new to Model UN last year, Abraham had competed independently prior to coming to CDS.

“He arrived with a wealth of knowledge and was very talented when it came to sharing this knowledge with the other delegates,” Ms. Moonan elaborated. “I think our job as mentors is to foster leadership and it’s been very successful with Grade 12 students, Abraham and Dima [Kalander]. They are both hardworking and are really good at fostering a passion for the subject and setting an example for the other delegates. They have been able to create their own background guides and manage the club well.”
Last year, the club went to UTMUN (University of Toronto Model United Nations) in February with 18 students and SOMA (Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly) in April with 10 students. They began to meet regularly, having organized sessions weekly on Thursdays. The club had also run a crisis called Ending the Raj about the partition of India.
“Delegates got to take on roles such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, which resulted in political intrigue and several assassinations,” she remarked.
I also asked Ms. Moonan what she believes is beneficial about MUN and why it is important to offer as an enrichment opportunity for Senior School students at CDS.
“At the heart of what MUN is, would be critical thinking and the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes - to examine your own biases as an individual, step out of those biases, and step into a new role representing the biases and motivations of a whole country or an individual,” she explained.
The students who took part in CDSMUN 2018 had a unique opportunity to develop and refine these valuable skills.
“That was the teacher and student organizers’ goal for CDSMUN 2018 - by acting as a fictional character in the Harry Potter committee, students had to fill in the gaps of literature to guide their characters’ choices; as a historical figure in the October Crisis committee, students had to engage in extensive research to properly debate the topic at hand and make choices that were representative of their characters; alternately, as a current political figure in the Trump 2020 committee, students were required to engage with the political climate that is constantly shifting in the present-day,” she described.
Abraham Litwin-Logan, the head of this year’s Model United Nations club at CDS, who is in his final year at the school, was asked the same question about the benefits of MUN.

"Model United Nations provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in debate on the most important issues that have faced the world and continue to face the world,” he noted. “The beauty of this is that Model United Nations isn't about debating old solutions, rather it is about creating better solutions.”

Representing Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa during the October Crisis of 1970, I participated in last Friday’s CDSMUN event - my second Model UN conference and first-ever crisis committee.
Sitting at the long, note-covered Parent Association Room table and watching as both experienced and novice delegates took the floor and immersed themselves in the lively debate that took place was truly an eye-opening experience.
The Country Day School welcomed students from Holy Trinity School and St. Andrew’s College for the event, all of whom were stunningly effective speakers and really knew their way around a MUN committee. Our school’s slightly newer delegates were thrown right into the action and were encouraged to adapt quickly to the procedures and expectations of the vigorous discussions.
Having my character switched from Bourassa to Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau within the first two hours of the event definitely added to the pressure, but I believe it gave me the unique opportunity to put my problem-solving and interpretive skills to the test. Collaborating with other delegates, supposed friends and foes alike, gave students, an unexpected chance to broaden our critical thinking abilities as we put our minds together to resolve burning issues in our committees.
The October Crisis committee was among two others - the Harry Potter committee (Riddle’s Return), in which delegates represented fictional literary personas such as Albus Dumbledore, and the Trump 2020 committee, in which delegates represented current political figures associated with the Trump administration, such as Kanye West. In all three, students were presented with new issues every 10 to 15 minutes and engaged in negotiations to find solutions in critical situations. I believe that I speak for all participants of the event when I say that I left the school that night feeling more knowledgeable, more experienced, and more prepared to take on similar future pursuits.
The most distinguished delegates received awards for each committee - the student with the best preliminary position paper, as well as the most active delegates, whether it was public action or behind-the-scenes operations, received the Position Paper award, the Best Delegate award, the Outstanding Delegate award, and the Honourable Mention award(s). Congratulations to all of the award recipients:
Riddle’s Return
Best Delegate - Caleb Williams - SAC
Outstanding Delegate - Drew Kennedy - CDS
Honourable Mention - Carlos Solloa - SAC
Honourable Mention - Natasha Ng - HTS
Honourable Mention - Daniel Shen - HTS
Position Paper - Tawana Ngorimi - CDS
Trump 2020
Best Delegate - Nicole Damianidis- CDS
Outstanding Delegate - Ty White - SAC
Honourable Mention - Kieran Walters - SAC
Honourable Mention - Richard Rubin - HTS
Position Paper - Avery Benlolo - CDS
October Crisis
Best Delegate - Shayan Noor - HTS
Outstanding Delegate - Kevin Qu - HTS
Honourable Mention - Christina Chkarboul - CDS
Position Paper - Spencer Thomson - SAC
Not to mention, congratulations to everyone who participated for their tremendous effort, determination, and pure grit. Also, thank you to all of the student organizers led by Abraham Litwin-Logan and Dima Kalander, and Ms. Moonan and Mr. Young for putting together such a well-run, enjoyable, and educational event.
As for the year ahead, the club is going to ILMUNC (Ivy League Model UN Conference) at UPenn, which runs from January 31 to February 3, with 10 extremely dedicated veteran members. Ms. Moonan and Mr. Young have made it more of a scaffolded approach this year, with newer delegates being offered an opportunity to go to conferences that are more accessible in terms of distance and size of the conference. UTMUN (University of Toronto Model UN), which runs from February 7-10, is an opportunity that will be offered to students who joined this year.
I inquired about the future of MUN at The Country Day School and how Ms. Moonan hopes the club will flourish in the years to come.
“I would love to see CDSMUN become a fixture at The Country Day School,” she said. “It offers so many opportunities for innovation and leadership. Whether that comes in the form of commanding a room full of brand new delegates with a gavel, or using their imagination to launch crises that might confound even the most experienced delegates.”

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5
(905) 833-1220
Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.