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  • Ingrid Nilsson

Model UN Now Conducted Via Moderated User Network

On Sunday, Feb. 7, after 22 grueling hours on Zoom for the annual UGA Model UN Conference, Taylor Dorsey ’22 logged back online to complete an essay for AP US History. “I just felt tired after how long the conference was,” Dorsey said. “I wanted another day of the weekend so I could relax and take more time to do the essay.”

While the pandemic presented unique challenges for the conference, the Athens Academy Model UN members persevered and exceeded expectations. This year, the team broke school records and carried home 8 awards, ranging from Best Position Paper to Distinguished Delegate.

“The virtual format was definitely less preferable than in person, which is understandable because you definitely get more involved when you don’t have to sit in front of a screen, but I think the conference ran as smooth as possible,” said Kathryn Nichols, a Model UN student leader who represented Nigeria in the GA-4 Specpol committee.“There were definitely obstacles, but we all worked to overcome them.”

Model UN conferences are divided into two types of committees: crisis and general assembly (GA). In crisis committees, delegates take on a role in a story arc (such as the director of the FBI during the Space Race), and work on their feet to swing the arc in their favored direction. Delegates write letters to one another, as well as to other connections they might have, to gain resources and stay ahead of their adversaries. GA committees, on the other hand, function in a more traditional style. A delegate or two represent a country and debate researched topics to pass resolutions, and hopefully find solutions to global issues.

Senior An’an Shen participated in Model UN for the first time this year. When describing the conference, she said, “What surprised me the most was the amount of knowledge you need to know toward one specific topic. Before I joined this conference, I literally knew nothing about the Middle East or the Islamic community. … I love that in Model UN you get the opportunity to know a country, to know a community when in your daily life you don’t necessarily have the motivation to learn it.”

While everyone hopes to meet in person next year, the team is grateful that they had the opportunity to attend this modified conference.

“In a normal in-person conference we probably would have gone through 2 topics in GA-4 and this year we only had time to finish 1, which is not the worst thing in the world, and I’m glad we got to attend,” Nichols said.

Photo of Commission on the Status of Women Committee. Photo by Imana Adogu.