2018 Lincoln Academy participants in the UConn Model UN Conference. Back row: Chas Van Damme, Liam Cullina, Gus Hunt, Chase Harris, Charlie Sleeman, Aidan Stearns, Christopher Onwuchekwa, Maddie Kelly, and the UConn student ambassador assigned to LA. Front row: Erin Dworkin, Tori Harris, Karo Akmoldayev, Will Sherrill, Marina McManus, Toby Seidel, Ethan Carmolli, and Arnauld Hirwa.
Lincoln Academy’s Model United Nations team attended the University of Connecticut Model United Nations (UCMUN) conference November 2-4. UCMUN is a student-run organization that aims to foster international awareness through its annual conference. Every November, hundreds of high school students gather at the UConn campus in Storrs, Connecticut, to participate in realistic committee simulations, engage in substantive debate, and learn from their fellow delegates. The college students who serve as staff for the conference “guide delegates toward understanding the values of cooperation, diversity, and compromise, while encouraging them to be active, compassionate leaders,” according to the conference website.
LA senior Liam Cullina was one of this year’s participants. He said, “the UConn Model UN conference is a very well-put-together conference, especially for those just starting to participate. Everyone always enjoys the committees and always has a great time.”
LA had 17 students delegates attend the three-day November conference. The students were each assigned a committee and a country to represent, as well as a topical issue in international relations to work through using traditional diplomacy. Some of the countries LA represented this year included the United Kingdom, Tunisia, Germany, Sudan, South Sudan, Italy, Kenya, Sweden, Nigeria, and India.
LA students served on various committees, including Joint Crisis Committee, UN Development Committee, UN Security Council, and UNICEF (International Children’s Fund).
At the end of the weekend Lincoln Academy students received multiple honors for their roles in the conference. These included Liam Cullina representing Sweden, who was awarded Best Delegate for the International Law Commission addressing the topics of Protection of the Atmosphere and International Cyber Crime Laws
Junior Erin Dworkin was also honored as Best Delegate for representing South Sudan on the UNICEF (International Children’s Fund) Committee, whose topics were Children’s Access to Proper Health Care and Children Soldiers in Northern Africa and the Middle East
Ninth grader Marina McManus received an award as Most Improved Delegate representing Saudi Arabia on the UNESCO (Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Committee, whose topics included Expanding Internet Access in the Third World and Protecting Muslims Rights around the World
Sophomore Karo Akmoldayev was also honored as Most Improved Delegate for representing Germany on the WHO (World Health Organization) committee, which discussed Genome Editing and Refugee Health.
After this year’s trip LA MUN Advisor and Special Education teacher Andrea Keushguerian reflected that, “the conference always means something different to each student. For some, it is prologue to a future in diplomatic or a political career. For others, it is the chance to practice diplomacy; you need a strategy to solve world problems. It is always a challenge, as you do not represent yourself but another country and one must find ways to influence as many countries as possible to find a resolution to the issues in a given topic. Finding middle ground among all the delegates is the basis of collaboration.”
Senior Ethan Carmolli said, “I started off very tentatively but by the end of the conference I was actively participating in all conversations and resolution writing.”
In the words of senior Gus Hunt, “UCMUN allows students from a small town in Maine to be on a world stage, dealing with real-world issues and helps them to become more well rounded individuals”
“MUN is a good way to hone one’s research, speech, and negotiating skills,” said Keushguerian. “It is also all about networking. You end up making friends from all over the world. One can never make a difference in the the world until we work to put one’s words into action.”