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Great Fun at YUNMUN

This past weekend, over 450 students from religious high schools across the country and abroad, convened in Stamford, Connecticut to partake in the twenty-seventh National Model United Nations hosted by Yeshiva University, colloquially referred to as YUNMUN.

YUNMUN serves as an opportunity for students to work collaboratively with their newfound peers in identifying solutions to current global issues. Delegates are tasked with formulating resolutions to the issues their committee discusses through intellectual debate, and in doing so, creating alliances with countries that share their country’s own views. RASG’s delegation was overseen by Mr. Berman, headed by captains Sara Fuchs and Avraham Hilu, who attended YUNMUN for the third time, along with five eager new delegates who would be participating for their first time — Joseph Abrahams, Elisheva Adouth, Caleb Katz, Yael Sterenfeld, and Raquel Zohar.

After an extremely turbulent flight out of Ft. Lauderdale, the delegation arrived in New York City where a bus full of students from other schools awaited. The bus ride from the city to Stamford, Connecticut was about an hour. Most spent the hour making new friends, while some reviewed their country’s positions in final preparation for the conference. Upon arrival at the hotel, the delegation was met with bustling crowds of hundreds of students all headed for dinner. At the opening ceremony following dinner, students were addressed by Mrs. Geri Mansdorf, director of undergraduate admissions at YU, Mr. Phil Goldfelder, former member of the NY state assembly and current assistant VP for government affairs at YU, and Avi Strauss, YUNMUN XXVII’s Secretary General. From ceremonies, delegates entered their first committee sessions where debate began, alliances were in the making, and tensions escalated.

“At first, the feeling in the room was strictly competitive,” noted Yael Sterenfeld (10th). “It seemed like everyone’s been doing it for ages. Within thirty minutes, I felt comfortable and able to speak my mind.”

After getting the hang of YUNMUN’s protocol, the night concluded with refreshments and social hour in the hotel’s lobby.

The second day was surely the longest and most protracted day of the conference in its entirety. The day was a string of numerous committee sessions, each spanning about an hour and a half to two hours. Each of the day’s 6 sessions were broken up by surprisingly favorable meals and breaks for davening. Committee sessions were spent placing your name on the speaker’s list to share your country’s views, passing notes to delegates representing countries with a similar views, collaborating on a working paper and resolution during caucus, and time to gather as a group and make decisions.

After Mincha, remarks about how amazing it is to find that students from all over the country that primarily only have their faith in common can galvanize and unite to discuss and create viable solutions to world problems. The remarks resonated with all and the atmosphere of the committee session that followed was arguably more purposeful, as though students were trying harder to collaborate as opposed to getting their point across and making it clear.

Dinner soon followed and Maariv after that, leading into the final two committee sessions that would tie up two full days of work. In the end, everyone was gratified with the new heights they reached at the conference.

“It was a very cool experience being able to debate and solve world crises with other schools throughout the country,” acknowledged Joseph Abrahams (10th). “It challenged me in many ways and taught me a lot about the issues in the world.”

The conference, however, was definitely not all work and no fun. Everybody made new friends and reconnected with old ones, and there was always that one funny and outgoing individual in each committee that turned the tension in the room towards laughter.

Senior and co-captain Sara Fuchs (12th) was awarded her committee’s rose at the UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime) closing ceremony. She was the only member of the HA delegation to get a shout-out during the three-day conference.

“I had the most incredible time at this past YUNMUN conference in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. I enjoyed seeing friends there, making new ones, debating real world issues, and working towards solutions with creative resolutions like ‘Terrorists Don’t Meth With Us’,” Sara shared. “I also had a really fun time, especially when one of my fellow delegates chose to give me the rose at my committee’s Bachelor-inspired rose ceremony.”

The conference concluded the next morning with closing remarks and ceremonies, and the Hebrew Academy representatives left with the Most Improved Delegation honor. Goodbyes were said to newfound peers and friends, thanks were given to the committee chairs, and most headed to the renowned kosher sushi restaurant in the hotel “Soosh.” From there, they took off for the airport, where the delegation spent five hours together, bonding as a team.

“YUNMUN was a great experience for me personally. It was a very different kind of thing,” shared Elisheva Adouth (10th). “I was in a room with a group of people like me speaking about topics that are affecting the world today and trying to fix them. It really helped me conquer my fear of public speaking and overall, it was just a really amazing experience. I hope to go back next year!”

By: Raquel Zohar (10th grade)

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