YUNMUN, Yeshiva University’s Model United Nation, was a fast-paced non-stop experience. YUNMUN is a yearly program run by Yeshiva University, where different schools from around the country come
together to debate different international topics. Each school was assigned a country (some schools receive multiple countries), and the students were assigned to different committees, such as UNICEF (UN International Children's Emergency Fund), SC (Security Council), WHO (World Health Organization), and many more. Each committee was given two topics to debate during meetings. All of the students researched them before arrival. I was in the UNICEF committee and our two topics were child soldiers and lead poisoning.
My experience started before I even arrived at the conference, because I had to take the SAT test that morning. I woke up early and spent several grueling hours taking a difficult test. Due to the SAT, our school had to take a later flight, consequently showing up late to our first session. Once we arrived, we changed and went straight into our initial meeting. My committee was already discussing ways of preventing child soldiers. Since I was tardy, I felt lost and thought I had missed crucial information. I sensed that the rest of the committee was miles ahead of me, and I had to find out a way to catch up. After a 2-hour long session that lasted until midnight, I finally got to see some friends and eat some food.
The next day started at 7:45 am with davening. Afterwards, we went straight into our next session for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I was more comfortable during this meeting, and had more opportunities to participate representing Mexico. The process and behavior was still very formal. After that, we had a break, and then we had four more long meetings throughout the remainder of the day. In one of our sessions, we had an interesting crisis about a fictional topic of toys kidnapping babies. After every session, it became less formal and more fun. We started to joke around more, and at some point, wrapped ties around our heads and banned overused YUNMUN words like concur, condemn, and more. What got me through the long day was passing notes to my new friends playing hang-man, tic-tac-toe, dots and boxes, and making jokes. YUNMUN is known for being “shticky”, and by the end of the day I had seen this throughout all of my sessions.
My YUNMUN experience started roughly but smoothed out as time passed. It was intense at times with ongoing meetings that lasted hours and included many interesting characters, but it was a new experience and I learned a lot from it. Ultimately, it was fun to try to come up with solutions to global problems and I am excited to return next year!
By: Spencer Lehmann (11th)