New club on the block: Model UN

Courtesy of John Ceccati
From left: Mack Finkel ’14, Isabel Ballester ’14 and Hannah Craig ’15 pause from their work for a photo op at one of Model UN’s conferences.

At its first conference, members of the recently formed GFS Model UN club played the roles of various historical figures from the year 1948, discussing Israeli Palestinian issues.

Peter Jarka-Sellers ’15, one of the founding members of Model UN, said, “It’s really cool to respond to things as real people.”

At a second conference, the members of Model UN did individual research about specific countries. The students each wrote a paper from their research, and then represented their countries in debate about the issue of censorship.

John Cecatti, the club’s faculty advisor, explained, “A big part of Model UN is students doing research before [the conferences].” Cecatti said, “If you get a country that implements censorship, you have to argue why it was in your country’s interest to censor; you have to know what that country would say about that issue.”

Although conferences can get competitive between Model UN clubs, Cecatti said participants “do not get the sense of winning the debate, but rather the sense of coming to consensus.”

Peter said, “At the end of the conferences a resolution will be passed. The conferences, to some degree, are very political. [At one conference] I put in a clause that would satisfy them but doesn’t actually mean anything. One way you could define winning is having your own resolution passed.”

Greta Meyer ’15, the club’s co-founder, said, “You have to compromise what you want but still remember who you’re representing.”

Overall, the club has had much success in its first few months. Peter said, “As a club it’s been successful because we’ve gone to conferences and we’ve gotten a lot out of them and people have been learning things.”

Cecatti agreed; “It’s been incredibly successful; I’m really impressed with the enthusiasm and work of the students. We’ve developed momentum.”

Looking ahead, Model UN plans to use its momentum to get fundraising for longer, overnight conferences and to collaborate with other schools.