As a sign of their growing strength, recently our Model UN Club hosted its third annual conference. Thanks to the hard work of more 50 UNIS students who helped organize the conference, this year's event attracted over 300 delegates from 16 other schools in the tri-state area. This spike in attendance more than doubled the previous conference's attendance.
The conference addressed eight topics, including: international humanitarian law, arms acquisition, establishing a global definition of terrorism, and accountability of corporations to uphold human rights.
"We are very proud of the outcome of UNISMUNC III and feel that the expansion of the conference definitely played a role in our success. With 16 schools in attendance, a diverse range of countries and characters were able to be represented in all of our committees," said Siena DeMatteo, Tutorial House student and President of the Model UN Club. "The growth of the Model UN Club also allowed us to have each committee led by 3-4 UNIS students and assisted by numerous staffers."
At the start of the day delegates heard from Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch (pictured second from the right). In his keynote address Roth discussed the rise of populists in the west hostile to human rights. He also took questions from students and used that time to highlight ways for people to become involved in work to protect basic rights, both in the U.S. and across the world.
Following the keynote delegates went to work representing their assigned countries and carrying out committee assignments. The committees included crisis, historical, one with a special UN-vetted procedure, the Security Council, a regional body, and two General Assemblies.
One of the features that makes UNIS conferences stand out is that, since 2014, the club has organized and publicized itself on the basis of their strength in crisis simulations. This year, they created two semi-fictitious crisis committees, the U.K. House of Commons and the Illuminati, to engage delegates in pertinent global issues such as Brexit. These committees, which move at a fast pace and were purposely interrupted by topical crises, were very popular with the delegates.
After a day of debate and deliberation, event ended with a brief awards presentation. The Best Delegation award went to The Dalton School. In addition, Brooklyn Friends School won the Outstanding Delegation award.
Once they get back from a short break for the holidays, in 2017 our Model UN team will be heading to competitions at Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Dalton.
Special thanks to Siena DeMatteo for helping contribute to the writing of this piece.