Seven Model UN delegates garner awards at Laguna Hills

Nathan Chan (12), Max Hoffman (12), and Samuel Noel had the opportunity to do an amateur time-traveler’s dream: rewrite history, Feb 26.

First-time competitors Hoffman and Noel competed with Chan, an experienced member of Model United Nations (MUN). Together, they represented England in a special type of simulation called “Edge of War,” which was set in the time period before World War I. They won Outstanding Delegates, or second place in their sector at the Laguna Hills MUN 2018 Conference.

Out of the nine members competing, four were first-time competitors of the club. To aid them in the process, President Daniel Kang (12) and Vice President Shivali Yedulapuram (11) acted as mentors, and additionally, Yedulapuram acted as student advisor for the team.

The club spent a large amount of their meetings this year training incoming members, particularly freshmen, and during this particular MUN competition, these new members were given an opportunity to test their skills.

“We’ve mostly dedicated our meetings to training new members through brushing up or teaching skills such as impromptu speaking, where we give them five minutes to prep a thorough paper, and it just teaches them to think on their feet,” Kang said. “We had a bunch of new members come up and they placed really well. It was a really good competition overall, and the best we’ve done so far numbers-wise.”

Daniel Shaw (9), was one of the people competing for the first time. Each competitor is to compete in a mock committee that is representative of an actual sector of the United Nations. Shaw competed in the mock committee called Office of Outer Space Affairs as a delegate from the United Kingdom.

“It was an interesting experience,” he said. ”You really have to project yourself and establish your positions. It is an excellent way to educate oneself about the world and understand global politics better, but you have to come prepared.”

In order to prepare, Shaw underwent a thorough research process, first browsing through Wikipedia to find sources, then researching UK foreign policy, then specifically finding information on the UK’s outer space policy. Ultimately, he compiled all his research into a 30-page position paper, which are typically only one page, outlining the UK’s overall background, the country’s positions historically on outer space policy, past resolutions that the UK has passed regarding outer space policy, and the UK’s current plan to solve its current outer space policy crisis.

Because of his extensive research, Shaw was able to properly react to a fellow delegate’s comments toward him.

“I gave a very angry speech where I denounced people who thought that people against space militarization [the stance he represented] were ‘idiots who were reasoning like a tiger with its head in his mouth,’” he said.

He considers this the highlight of his experience.

Ultimately, Shaw was awarded the Outstanding Delegate award or second place for his efforts, joining fellow freshman Daniel Sjoholm (9) who won the Best Research award in his committee of 25 people.

“It felt good [to win Best Research],” Sjoholm said. “It was fun to work with people and I learned more how to work together and make compromises.”

Just like Shaw, Chan, Hoffman and Noel went through a month-long extensive research process beforehand regarding the economic and political climate of England at the time and the country’s allies and enemies at the time. Through their research, they constructed a strategy, which primarily consisted of making as many friendships as they could in order to protect themselves.

“We were England so we kind of had to watch from the sidelines but we didn’t let that stop us from participating,” Hoffman said. “We ended up making friendships and enemies. We made friendship with Germany, which was strange, as well as the Ottomans and Russia.”

They competed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with only a lunch and two breaks in between.

For Yedulapuram, even though this wasn’t her first time competing, the competition was a first for her as well.

This was the first time she acted as the leader of the team and student advisor. During the competition, Yedulapuram had access to everyone’s score sheets as they were being scored, so she was able to give advice on how to improve what they were being critiqued on and encourage what they were doing well.

“I got to talk to Sam, Max, and Nathan who updated me on how they were doing and what countries they were taking over,” she said. “I also got to talk to other people and give them advice on what they were doing well and tell them if they needed to give more speeches and speak more if they were getting comments about that.”

As a future leader in the club and one of the only returning seniors next year, Yedulapuram was able to gain the necessary experience in order to lead the club next year. In addition, the club’s success at the Laguna Hills conference put Kang in good faith that the club would be in capable hands next year.

“That last conference was perhaps one of my proudest moments as I saw the passing of the torch,” Kang said. “There are few things in this world that make me smile more than seeing how motivated, determined and talented this next generation of delegates is going to be. I am absolutely sure they will carry the mantle well.”