JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Hole Model UN Team recently returned from the University of Toronto Model United Nations (UTMUN) conference in Toronto, Canada, with some new hardware along with enhanced global awareness and diplomacy skills.
Local nonprofit InterConnections 21 and the JH High School UN Club led a team of 21 students from JH High School, JH Community School, and Mountain Academy. Students developed their MUN skills at the annual Teton County Model UN (TCMUN) conference organized every November by InterConnections 21. Several seasoned MUN veterans and a large number of underclassmen participated in the three-day UTMUN conference among 500 students from 25 schools across Canada and the U.S.
Model UN conferences develop civic engagement, critical thinking, and collaborative problem-solving skills across a wide variety of topics. Some UTMUN committees focused on developing global responses to important current events such as disease epidemics and global vaccination rates (World Health Organization), proliferation of the counterfeit medicine trade (Committee on Narcotics and Drugs), regulation of cryptocurrency (Economic and Financial Affairs Council), and women’s reproductive health rights (Commission on the Status of Women).
However, the importance and relevance of interactive negotiation skills are not limited to the United Nations. Student delegates also worked on developing meaningful solutions in unusual settings such as the Huawei Board of Directors and the Papal Conclave, while others altered the course of history through simulations of the Conference of Dresden, the Yalta Conference, and the Chinese State Council during the Tiananmen Square protests.
While the spirit of Model UN aligns with collaborative diplomacy rather than competition, each committee chair chooses awards for best position papers (submitted by delegates prior to the conference) and top performance during committee sessions. Our delegation performed exceedingly well as the third most-awarded large delegation at the conference. Individual honors went to:
Best Position Paper:
Annika Peacock, JHHS Junior (Princess Marie Louise of Austria, Conference of Dresden);
Virginia Girling, JHHS Sophomore (Tao Jingwen, Huawei Board of Directors)
Maleah Tuttle, JHCS Senior (ADHOC);
Carter Worcester, JHHS Sophomore (Georgina Jolibois, Truth and Reconciliation Committee)
Warren Levy, JHCS Senior (China, Committee on Narcotics and Drugs);
Darcy Mueller, JHCS Senior (ADHOC Committee)
Colin Reese, JHHS Sophomore (Henryk Ehrlich, Russian Revolution)
The Toronto conference marks InterConnections 21’s third international MUN trip within the past four years. Recent international and national trips included Bilbao Spain, Vancouver Canada, Johns Hopkins University, and Berkeley. While the Teton County Model UN conference provides the foundation for MUN skills, MUN trips immerse students in high-level large-scale simulations with thousands of motivated students from around the world.
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