By AVINASH SARAF, ’13
“And the Outstanding Large Delegation Award goes to… John P. Stevens High School!”
If you had asked the 28 members of the JP Stevens Model United Nations team how they felt when these words were announced at the closing ceremonies of NAIMUN, you probably would have gotten 28 long, emotional, and rather unique responses. JPSMUN traveled to the North American Invitational Model UN Conference (NAIMUN) at Georgetown University this past winter to compete in one of the largest conferences in the world. “There were over three thousand people, many of whom were from other countries. It was incredible to meet all of the people,” junior Akhil Bandi recalls.
This large international presence contributed greatly to the conference, giving delegates first-hand perspectives on the issues. As junior Gaurav Thakur relates, “I was in the African Union, and I remember a delegate from Africa telling us stories about how the topic affected her life. It was truly eye-opening.”
This is the true Model UN experience. Conferences are more than competitions where delegates debate certain positions and win awards; they also introduce various cultures, present different ways of thinking, and hone abilities used to express opinions. Most of all, conference develop delegates into conscious and contributing global citizens. “If you debate water scarcity at a conference and don’t leave the weekend with a better understanding of why it’s so difficult to tackle in developing countries, then you have failed,” said senior Parth Shingala.
Adopting this attitude, JPSMUN has been extremely successful this year. After placing 3rd at the Harvard MUN Conference in January, the team went on to win Outstanding Large Delegation at Georgetown with 24 out of 28 delegates winning awards, and capped its season with a Best Small Delegation Award at Cornell with 10 out of 13 delegates coming home with an award. “As a senior, I’ve watched JPSMUN win many titles. But this year was our year, and it was especially gratifying to keep the club in such good standing,” remarked senior Frank Jiang.
But gains from Model UN extend beyond high school. “We kept meeting JPSMUN alumni at NAIMUN, and they told us how the club helped them grow as leaders. MUN doesn’t stop after the conferences are over: we’ll keep it for the rest of our lives,” said senior Smit Acharya. With this, the JPSMUN legacy is more than that of a simple high school club; it is carried on through the experiences of its members and alumni.