For the sixth time in as many years, Trinity’s Model UN Club hosted a full-scale simulation Model UN conference, welcoming over 140 student delegates from Trinity and eight other area schools, on the weekend of February 28 and 29, 2020.
Students competing in this academic simulation faced real life situations such as Amazon deforestation, female education and mental illness in Africa and human rights violations. Each simulation was entirely student-led, with an emphasis on the importance of international cooperation and the consideration of future implications. The Model United Nations program encourages the development of public speaking, debating and team leadership skills.
This year’s conference welcomed delegations from Moody Middle, Robious Middle, Holman Middle, Midlothian High, Highland Springs High, Henrico High, Deep Run High and Patrick Henry High. Committee sessions were based around simulations involving the African Union, the World Health Organization and the president’s cabinet during the September 11, 2001 crisis.
“Why are we here? Why do we need to role-play different countries and gather to write up imaginary resolutions? Why is it important to study history and to understand the current state of our earth?” said Atesh Camurdan, Trinity senior and TESMUNC Secretary General, in his welcome address to delegates. “It is because we must learn to inspire ourselves into taking action, into making our world a better place.”
The keynote speaker at Friday’s opening ceremonies was first-term US Congressman Abigail Spanberger, who represents Virginia's 7th District in the US House of Representatives. A Henrico native, Spanberger had coincidentally just run into her own high school government teacher for the first time since her election to Congress. “It was really powerful, because I remember sitting in [his] class talking about politics and debating ideas and talking about civic engagement and world events... where I felt that I could have an opinion,” said Spanberger. “That was part of the foundation that later made me inclined to run for office, and I think that it helped build the the skill set that I bring to Congress now.”
Recalling that she, too, participated in Model UN as a student in college, Spanberger lauded the conference’s participants for their interest. “It's important because everything in life is diplomacy. Your relationship with your siblings, parents, spouse, friends, college roommates, it's all diplomacy,” she said. “Being able to engage in an activity where you are putting yourself in the shoes of another country, and viewing something through the eyes of a foreign diplomat, it's an incredible exercise in thinking beyond yourself.”
Learn more about the club and the annual conference at www.trinityes.org/tesmunc.