Over 3500 high school students from 36 different countries and 28 states, representing over 200 schools in all, attended the Harvard Model United Nations Conference for four days last week. Eight of them were from Waynflete.
Payton Sullivan ’18; Isabel Canning ’17; Cooper Bramble, Katherina Thomas and Michael Michaelson, all ’16; and Haley Jo Cutrone, Gemma Laurence, and Jonas Maines, all ’15, were chosen because of the awards they had won at Maine Model UN last May for outstanding performances. The team applied for a seat on the Economic and Social Council (EcoSoc) and was assigned to represent the Republic of Georgia.
As Georgians, they dealt with issues such as the 2001 crisis in the Congo, the fate of refugees, environmental issues, and mineral rights. At the Conference itself they presented and voted on resolutions and mingled with students from schools all over the world. It was a whirlwind four days, with one welcome break on Saturday evening involving a trip to Chinatown for some exceptional dim sum with five recent Waynflete alumnae/i! As well, Juanita and I had a wonderful time with five other alumnae while the students were meeting in committee on Friday night (this almost made up for having to do 1:00 a.m. bed checks!)
Congratulations to all involved, especially Kat Thomas and Cooper Bramble. As Georgia’s representatives at the UN High Commission for Refugees, each was recognized for an honorable mention (the third highest award given) both for their performances in committee and their position papers. Exclaimed Cooper: “It was a totally inspiring experience!” Added Haley Jo: “The camaraderie among the students on the different delegations made the experience special. It was intense in committee, but then we all just hung out and got to know each other.” Gemma Laurence was particularly proud of getting her resolution monitoring hydraulic fracking passed by her committee. But Payton may have put it best: “HMUN was MeMUNC (Maine Model UN) on steroids. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience to collaborate and problem-solve with students from across the globe.” And all of the students are planning to take their newly honed skills to, as Kat put it, “totally smoke MeMUNC!”
Speaking of Maine Model UN, Ben Mini, who heads up that program, has opened the sign-up process for the May conference. Each spring for the last several years, Waynflete has sent one of the largest and sometimes the largest contingent in the State. Each year, its members are praised by the organizers for their diplomatic skill, for their ability to think on their feet, and especially for their well developed position papers.