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New Model UN program makes early gains in competition

Pioneer%E2%80%99s+Model+UN+Team+celebrates+a+victory.
Pioneer’s Model UN Team celebrates a victory.

Pioneer’s Model UN Team celebrates a victory.

Photo courtesy of Model UN

Photo courtesy of Model UN

Pioneer’s Model UN Team celebrates a victory.

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“At first I was sort of stressed,” said Pioneer’s Model United Nations founder Henry Taylor, as he relived the moments before Model UN’s first conference. The club is based on the global organization which is tasked with maintaining international order. It was this year when Pioneer decided to take on the challenge of creating a Model UN club. Over winter break was their first conference, a competition against other schools with Model UN clubs.

Taylor says that although, “things were a bit shaky…in the end everything worked out really well.”

Gabe Gurulé, a Pioneer junior, explains that the concept of Model UN is simple, “A student model of the UN, students represent various countries of the UN and follow parliamentary procedure (a formal style of negotiation) in hopes of passing imaginary resolutions to real problems.”

While the club is very popular in other schools, Pioneer never had one. The club was founded after Taylor was made aware of the absence. He recalls that he was “taken aback because this school is very politically active and everyone’s very socially aware of what’s going on in the world.” Model UN is a popular club on the East Coast, and the popularity is growing among schools all over the United States.

Other students like Sungyu Kwon, a Pioneer junior, had participated in Model UN before. “I lived in Connecticut for most of my life before moving to Ann Arbor, and I was part of the Model UN team,” said Kwon.

One of the primary reasons why Pioneer did not have a team was because of the lack of statewide interest. “It’s not that big in Michigan,” says Kwon. “In Connecticut it’s much more competitive, because it is a much bigger, more established organization on the East coast.”

Because of the early birth of the club at Pioneer, the delegates (competitors) face unique challenges. “When initially founding the club,” Taylor says, “I knew that there was going to be some people who would participate just to elevate their college applications.” Along with the trials that come with a new club, they also faced other tribulations. There were “a lot of last minute cancellations from some people whose airplanes got cancelled or weren’t able to attend because they were sick,” Taylor explained. This lack of delegates put a lot of strain on Taylor, but he said he was able to “reconcile the stress by being very active and in close touch with the conference organizer who was very helpful. He understood it was our first year as a club.”

Although it was the first year of Model UN for many of the participants, this didn’t stop the Pioneers from taking home awards, “I won Consummate Diplomat as did Leo Ratté, Gabe Gurulé, and Martin Jalet, and we won every committee we entered,” said Taylor. The rewards from the competition shocked many of the delegates, “The kids who were able to go did really well. I was really surprised and proud,” said Kwon.

Walking into the conference “none of us were really expecting to perform so well,” says Taylor. In the conference competitors had to quickly learn parlimentary procedure, a formal way of debating, which was unfamiliar to many of the competitors. But in the end, “everyone was able to get a really clear understanding of it throughout the conference,” said Taylor.

Model UN is open to anyone who wants to “gain a further understanding of events happening in the world” or anyone who “aspires to be a fluent public speaker, both fluent and effective,” says Taylor. Currently the club is very senior heavy. With much more upperclassmen who will be graduating soon, having “more underclassmen would be really nice,” said Kwon. “We are all really nice people and we would love to have more people join.”

For those who are interested in joining Model UN, reach out to anyone in the club, or contact club founder Henry Taylor. The club meets in Ms. Bruggers’ room on Wednesdays during club lunch. The environment “is not as serious or hostile as in the East Coast,” says Kwon. “I see it as a more friendly competition, and it’s really fun.”

Gurulé says it’s simple, “Just join.” Joining the club would certainly help Model UN grow and become a more competitive team, but it also is a way to take part in global issues. “Don’t be afraid of learning more about the world, the world’s players and problems,” and for an added bonus, says Gurulé, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

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