Photo courtesy of swcmun.wordpress.com
Last week, more than forty delegates from Westmount joined five hundred other students in attending Winston Churchill High School’s sixth annual Model United Nations conference. It began on Friday at 3:30 and fully ended on Saturday at 5:30, with numerous breaks in between. This conference was a taste-test for many newcomers of what MUN meetings are like – and what an explosive taste-test it was!
Both the number of attending schools, twenty three, and number of attending delegates this year were Churchill’s new record highs. The GA 3 SOCHUM (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs) committee alone was composed of around one hundred and forty students, all stuffed into Churchill’s brightly-lit, crimson-seated school theatre. Intimidating? You may think so, but the newbie ninth graders of Westmount proved to be made of tougher material than that. “I like [the idea of] larger committees, although it’s hard to speak up when you’re Jamaica,” Duomi D., one such newbie, laughingly noted.
Duomi was the Jamaican delegate in the GA SOCHUM committee. For those in need of a quick crash course, a delegate’s job is to research their country’s stance on a few issues posed beforehand to their committee, and then attempt to pass resolutions that fit accordingly with said stance, as well as benefitting their own country and allies. Generally speaking, larger or more prominent countries such as USA and France naturally have more to work with in terms of stances, while smaller nations like Jamaica could be more ambiguous. Committees like the GA are also larger by nature, and recommended for beginner members.
This conference being her first, Duomi opted to be in the GA and picked Jamaica as her country. When asked about her plan for the next conference, which happens to be taking place right here at Westmount, she says “I think I’d choose a smaller committee next time, but if I have to change to get a large country, I’d still take the GA.”
The delegate of Luxembourg, another 9th grader and beginner in the GA SOCHUM, Roy H. was more decisive in his response. “For me, [the GA] just had too many people. Roll call was cancer.” Certainly anyone present in the theatre during roll call would agree with Roy’s latter sentiment. Roll call, for anyone unaware, consists of the chair calling each and every individual country by name and waiting for each and every individual delegate to respond with “present”. Throw in the fact that the chair repeats a country’s name twice if the country delegate does not immediately respond, and one gets an excruciating process that only gets longer each time it is done.
Suffering through a few roll calls was a small price to pay, however, as many Westmount delegates won awards at this conference and in general performed very well. The next Model UN conference will be hosted by Westmount in early December, and hopefully there will be just as many Westmount students with the velvety voices and sharp minds that were exhibited in the Churchill MUN conference.