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Model UN Goes Virtual

March 18, 2021 — Last month, 10 students involved in NMH’s Model United Nations (UN) group participated in the 16th Annual Anatolia College Model United Nations Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. The conference was held virtually, with NMH students Zooming in from Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea, and the United States. 

“This conference was a reminder of how interconnected we all really are, even when we are physically distanced,” said Tiffany Soule Thiri, NMH’s Model UN faculty advisor. 

Students practiced diplomacy by discussing current global issues while also developing their speaking and negotiation skills. They played the roles of delegates to the United Nations and simulated UN committees, representing four countries: Belgium, Israel, Luxembourg, and the Ukraine. Their discussions covered COVID-19, tech monopolies, police reform, and sustainable energy, among other topics. 

Erika Jing ’23 received an honorable mention for her work as a Belgian delegate to the UN Security Council. (A few weeks later, she also earned a diplomacy award as an independent delegate in the virtual Harvard World Model UN Conference in Tokyo.) 

“Our students did an excellent job, especially considering the challenges of participating from many different time zones,” Thiri said. “While we have adapted new ways of learning and communicating in the wake of the pandemic, the challenges and rewards of international diplomacy remain the same.” The NMH group will attend other virtual conferences this spring.

There are pros and cons to participating this way, Jing said. “There’s no more pre-writing notes, assembling binders, and polishing shoes, which leaves more time for enjoying the conference,” she said. “I still get an adrenaline rush when giving speeches, but it’s nothing compared to stumbling up the podium and trying my best to hide my index cards.”