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Model UN competes at UPenn

Published: November 6, 2009
Section: News


The Brandeis University International Relations Council (BIRC), the Model United Nations team, will be attending the 43rd annual University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Model United Nations Conference next week.

One of the largest MUN conferences in the world, UPenn is expecting 1,400 delegates from more than 75 universities around the world. The convention will last from Thurs. Nov. 12 to Sun. Nov. 15.

The Brandeis team was assigned to send mock delegations from two countries, Niger and Switzerland. Each delegate will be representing his or her country on committees such as Disarmament, International Security and the World Health Organization. Their goal is to help create resolutions relating to their committees while keeping in mind the needs and wants of their country.

While in Philadelphia, the delegates will spend most of their time in committee sessions—crafting resolutions, However, they will also get a chance to explore the city and meet delegates from other colleges and universities. The conference’s website lists several must-see attractions, as well as planned events for visiting delegates.

Erica Shaps ’13, who participated in MUN in high school, is heading to UPenn with no expectations except a hope for “high caliber debate” and “interesting and insightful conversations” about the topics at hand. Shaps plans to major in International and Global Studies and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, and is interested in pursuing a career in diplomacy and international relations.

“MUN really opens your eyes to culture and politics that you might not have seen,” Shaps said. “It shows you that not everything is black and white.”

Almost 20 Brandeis students have been preparing for this event for several weeks. Throughout the semester they meet once a week for two hours, they increase that to four hours in the two weeks before conferences. In order to prepare for the conference, the team has been researching information regarding their assigned committees and countries as well as holding practice debates in MUN-competition style.

At the culmination of the conference, awards are given to delegates based on their participation.

These awards are given both to delegations and individual delegates.

The amount of conferences which Brandeis delegates participate in varies every semester; this semester BIRC president Alexandra Pizzi ’10 chose to only attend one conference in order to be sure that delegates knew their information as well as possible.