Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations where students, assuming the roles of delegates, pass resolutions to solve real world issues. On Sunday, Wheeler’s Upper School Model UN team (MUN) hosted a conference with student delegates from Wheeler, Lincoln, and East Greenwich High School who covered topics such as reproductive rights, rising sea levels, regulating cryptocurrency, and the rights of Olympic athletes.
“I joined Model UN during my freshman year, and got super into it from there,” says Nicholas Karamanian ’23, who is now one of the club’s co-presidents. “Model UN helps you develop some extremely important skills, such as public speaking and collaboration with people you’ve never worked with before. It also helps you not only learn about current and historical events, but helps you build the skills to interpret these events when they happen or when you learn about them. When you’re a delegate of a country that doesn’t hold the same viewpoint as you do, you need to step into the shoes of that country and debate from their perspective. It’s challenging, but also extremely rewarding.”
Beatrice Schroeder ’24 was one of the chairs of the committee that focused on athlete’s rights. “I think our committee went really well,” she says. “We thought that this committee would be really timely and relevant given that the Tokyo Olympics were this summer and the Winter Olympics are coming up in 2022. All the delegates were participating and we ended up passing two resolutions.”
When Beatrice joined MUN last year, all of the conferences were virtual due to the pandemic—even so, she feels her public speaking and knowledge of Model UN improved a lot during that time. “So at the end of last year I decided to run for vice president, and this year I have really loved the opportunity in a leadership position to make this club better for new and veteran members.”
One of those fellow members is Stephan Bejger ’23, who also chaired a conference committee. “I joined Model UN to help keep its tradition of the biggest and most popular club at Wheeler. I want others to be able to feel the way I did at my first conference,” Bejger says. “Today’s conference was super fun and had an interesting guest speaker.”
That speaker was J. Brian Atwood, the former administrator of the US Agency for International Development, who delivered a keynote address to the delegates.
Looking back at the experience, Nicholas says, “The conference went extremely well, given our excellent student staff, and the irreplaceable support of our faculty advisors Ms. Laffey and Ms. Page.”
MUN is open to all Upper School students and holds meetings twice a week during Wednesday and Friday enrichment periods. Club members attend multiple conferences in a typical year, including a conference in New York where they visit the United Nations Headquarters. To get involved, students can check out the club’s padlet on the Upper School Community website.
“The Wheeler Model UN club is unique because you get as much out of it as you put in,” Nicholas says. “If you wanted, you could probably go to all the conferences we offer in the year. Or, you might only want to go to one or two. It is entirely up to you. We have some great members and everyone that you will meet is super friendly.”