On Thursday, Jan. 23, history teacher Stacey Savin and a group of KO students departed from KO to attend the Yale Model United Nations Conference or YMUN. This year, 36 KO students from all forms were in attendance. At YMUN, students participate in a variety of committees and must work together to tackle current issues in the world. “If you’re interested in international relations and current events, it is a forum where you can discuss these things,” Ms. Savin said. “The program is really popular, and I think all of the kids love it. It forces people to have actual face to face human contact and really connect.”
This year the 36 students in attendance from KO participated in a wide variety of committees. In total, KO students participated in 24 committees including SPECPOL, which discussed Palistinean refugees, UNHRC, which discussed Global Persecution of LGBT+ Populations and Human Trafficking in Conflict Zones, and many others. “I was on DISEC which dealt with Lethal Autonomous Weapons and Nuclear Non- Proliferation in the Middle East,” senior Bella Leuschner said. “I chose this committee because it was a very interesting topic that I felt was relevant to today.” Another student in attendance was senior Spencer Schaller. “I was on the International Court of Justice, which is in the Hague and decides disputes between countries,” Spencer said. “I chose this committee because I had done it last year and I wanted to do it again.”
The YMUN conference stretches out from its opening ceremony on Thursday to its closing ceremony on Sunday, in which awards are given to exceptional delegates. During the conference students attended their committee sessions in classrooms all over the Yale campus. Since students participate in so many different committees, students are stretched out all over the campus. “I just want to really compliment the KO students,” Ms. Savin said. “I travel with kids all the time, but I think our kids are exceptional in that regard. I don’t have to worry that they are not where they are supposed to be they are well mannered and polite. They stay with each other across the grades and make the whole experience more enjoyable.”
After all of the committee’s discussions were over, the students that performed exceptionally well were given awards at the end of the YMUN conference. This year, unfortunately, due to a health concern, the conference had to be cut short and all activities were cancelled on Sunday. While this meant that there was no award ceremony, delegates from KO did still win awards. Spencer Schaller won Best Delegate in ICJ and junior Chaitanya Karanam won Outstanding Delegate in Technological Future. “I was a little under the weather and feel like it partly affected my abilities, but I ended up pushing through and felt satisfied with my work,” Spencer said. “I was awarded Best Delegate from my committee, so I guess I did better than I originally thought.”
While YMUN was cut short this year the people in attendance still had a great time. “It was a great experience and I am kind of sad that I am going to miss it next year,” Spencer said. “I would recommend going even if you have a slight interest as there is so much to do and so many people to meet.” Ms. Savin also recommend people try Model UN. “I don’t think there is much need for encouragement, because ironically Model UN is more popular and successful than the real UN, all over the world young people really enjoy it, but anyone interested should try it out,” she said.