PMHS Model UN Club hosts first-ever digital conference amid quarantine

PMHS Model UN Club hosts first-ever digital conference amid quarantine

On April 16, the Model United Nations Club held its first virtual conference in the designated after-school hours of Pelham Memorial High School. While the digital element of the conference provided some challenge, participants agreed that this conference shows a promising future for extracurriculars at PMHS, even during Covid-19.

Model UN is an extracurricular club ran mainly by students who design and simulate different crises through history. The crisis is reenacted as if actually happening in real time, with each role-player, or delegate, having a position of power during the crisis. Oftentimes the outcome may not be the same as history has reported; in each conference, the outcome of the scenario is determined through the delegates’ actions, and the quality of the resolution they achieve. Sometimes the situations are fictional, with previous conferences based on literature such as William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies”, and Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” series. 

This conference was on the Six Days War, a brief-but-impactful conflict involving Israel, Egypt, and various other Middle Eastern nations vying for control of the region. The delegates represented members of the Israeli Government during this crisis, with occupations that related to militaristic and economic jobs. In each conference, a group of students that organized the conference, nicknamed Crisis Staffers, represent the opposition to the delegates and generate the crises they face. In this case, they role-played the opposing Arab nations in real-time to counter the delegates.

The conference ran smoothly, with two different chats over Google Meet created for the two groups to communicate among themselves. Tommy Roche, Head Chair of the conference and Vice President of the club, was asked about the conference’s success.

“Even during quarantine, many students are excited to find a way to make their extracurriculars work, myself included. There were a lot of challenges coming into the creation of an online Model UN conference, but everyone was happy to pitch in to make it a reality.” said Roche. “This shows a bright future for school clubs, even through this gloomy period.”

A former delegate in the conference concurred with these comments.

“Our virtual Model UN conference last week gave us a sense of normalcy in this chaotic time,” said Olivia Pollock, who represented the Israeli spy Eli Cohen in the conference. “As delegates, we got the opportunity to simulate a significant portion of history, while staying safe and maintaining connections with our peers.”