On January 31st, five veteran members of The Country Day School’s Model United Nations club travelled with Ms. Moonan, one of the faculty advisors of the club, to Philadelphia, where University of Pennsylvania students organized the annual Ivy League Model United Nations Conference for high school students.
For those in need of a reminder, Model UN is an extracurricular that encourages students to develop diplomacy and research skills, elevate their knowledge and understanding of past and current global issues, and employ critical thinking in devising solutions to these simulated dilemmas. The value of opportunities for engagement and enrichment outside of the classroom and school setting cannot possibly be overestimated, especially when relating to disciplines such as diplomacy and international relations at the core of which are breadth and depth of experience.
ILMUNC has built a reputation for itself as one of the premier MUN conferences for high school students in North America, attracting passionate and bright minds from across the world. Students on the trip had the exceptional chance to participate in crisis and specialized committees that simulated events such as NCAA college sports negotiations and the Indian Independence from the British Raj. A midnight crisis (an event that a lucky few students have a chance to experience over the course of their MUN days) was even held, during which delegates from both the Indian and British Cabinets of the Indian Independence committee were summoned to a conference room to resolve a pressing crisis that ended at four in the morning.
While lively debate and resolution drafting consumed approximately 17 hours over the course of the three days of our stay in the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection), we also had opportunities to acquaint ourselves with Philadelphia's gastronomic scene through regular visits to Reading Terminal Market, which has a rich history ingrained in the city. We even attended the Philadelphia Flyers vs. Colorado Avalanche hockey game! Obligatory visits to see the Liberty Bell and other well-known sites in the city were made with the help of a sightseeing bus and an insightful tour guide.
On the final day of the trip, a visit to the famous Rocky Steps, the 72-stone stairs leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Art Museum that appeared in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, was planned. A sudden deterioration in the weather led to a change in plans and we instead visited the Franklin Institute, an interactive science museum with a temporary survival skills exhibit. Several jumps into ball pits modelling quicksand later, students were on the flight back home, filled with fresh memories of new educational experiences and friendships made in conference rooms and outside of them.
On behalf of all the students that attended the Philadelphia ILMUNC trip, I’d like to extend a note of immense gratitude to Ms. Moonan, who meticulously organized an extremely well-run and enjoyable experience, and to the School for allowing such a beneficial and crucial extracurricular to prosper and expand.