Branson Model UN Team Attends International Conference at UN Headquarters in New York
Two weeks ago, eight members of the Branson Model UN Club traveled to New York to attend the Change the World Model UN (CWMUN) conference. This conference, organized by the Associazione Diplomatici (AD), an organization headquartered in Milan, Italy, brought together hundreds of delegates from all over the world. The conference was held at the headquarters of the United Nations itself, with opening ceremonies held in the General Assembly Hall and committee meetings held in conference rooms below. The majority of the students attending the conference were from Europe, primarily from Italy, and Branson was the only American delegation from outside the New York area.
The opening ceremony of the conference was a long, at times dull, affair, but included many notable speakers, including the former Prime Minister of Italy and numerous United Nations diplomats, as well as actors Jason Sudeikis, Maya Rudolph, and Josh Gad, who were introducing a humanitarian campaign partnered with the UN. Committee sessions were held on various topics, including “The impact of Social Media on Democracy,” “The right to Privacy in the Digital Era,” “Mobile Technology for Children’s Health,” and “The Support of Technological Instruments for Environmental and Natural Catastrophes.”
“It was an incredible experience to meet so many people from a multitude of different cultures and societies, and converse with them on real world topics… and of course being at the UN was amazing in and of itself!” said Samantha Rubin-Pope, one of the Branson delegates at the conference. She, along with Ben Hoffner and myself, won an Honorable Mention award for representing the delegation of Argentina in the UN Human Rights Committee. On collaborating and interacting with so many international students for the first time, Rubin-Pope said, “it was just a stark contrast from the way things are in America. Being that more than half the delegates were European, they have different daily experiences than we do. In one conversation I had with a girl from Italy… she was startled to learn that I was Jewish. She told me she had never met a Jew before and was excited to brag to her friends at home about it.”
“I was very proud of the way our students represented Branson throughout this conference, and know what a thrill it was for each of them to be a part of this very special experience in the UN Headquarters,” said Paul McCarthy, the faculty advisor of the Branson Model UN Club, who traveled with the Branson students to New York. In addition to attending the conference, the students, as well as Mr. McCarthy, had ample free time to explore the city, visiting Wall Street and Times Square, taking the Staten Island Ferry, and patronizing numerous pizzerias.
Sending a delegation to the CWMUN conference would not have been possible without generous support from Branson’s Head of School, Ellen Moceri, whose previous school, Ransom Everglades in Florida, sent a delegation every year to a Model UN Conference in The Hague, Netherlands. She hopes that this year’s trip to New York lays a foundation for more Branson delegations to attend Model UN conferences beyond the Bay Area in the future.