YUNMUN: Gabon, Greece and a gavel

Ariella Benji

Sarah Soroudi, Staff Writer

For two whole days, the 44 Jewish schools participating in the Model UN Conference organized by Yeshiva University did not see sunlight.

Greece and Gabon were the two countries Shalhevet’s delegation represented this year, and the 10 students who went argued everything from women’s rights to counter terrorism from their points of view.

Representing Greece, senior Jenny Newman won a gavel defending the nation of Belarus against allegations of slavery in YUNMUN’s International Court of Justice, or ISC.

“I was really excited to work with the format of the ISC, because we were able to argue through a court case,” Jenny said. “We were able to examine how the international community looks at slavery, which is something that really interests me as a topic.”

Sophomore Daniel Schwartz won Honorable Mention in his Environmental Program committee, discussing natural disasters in third-world countries, as well as oil spills.

“The spectacular Environmental Committee opened my eyes to the danger we cause to our planet by being ignorant and selfish people,” said the rookie sophomore, who credited his ‘”shmoozing technique” for his success. “Just as much as knowing the facts may be important, what plays even a bigger role in Model UN is the shmoozing’ — how you can present yourself inside and out of committee.”

This year’s YUNMUN consisted of seven committee sessions, most two hours long, arguing and proposing resolutions. Working together with other countries in committees to solve the different issues facing the world.

Committee chairs were Stern or Yeshiva University students who had participated in Model UN conferences while in high school. They decided who would speak, and who would receive the two honorable mentions and gavel.

In addition to Jenny and Daniel, the delegation was comprised of seniors Matthew Klein, Ari Tuchman, Ezra Schwarcz, Nathaniel Kukurudz and Ariella Benji; sophomore Rebecca Mandel; and freshmen Jennie Drazin and Sarah Soroudi.

Team members flew to New York on the red-eye Thursday night Feb. 3, arriving Friday morning.  Since the conference did not start until Sunday, from Friday until Sunday morning the students were free to do as they wished.  Some stayed with family, while others stayed with friends.

At 12:30 pm on Sunday, the group arrived at the Stern dorm, where several other schools, including YULA, were also present. From there, the delegations took different buses and headed towards the Sheraton Hotel in Stamford, Conn. Shalhevet and YULA shared a bus.

“It was weird sharing a bus with them, only because we knew that they would also be our competition, but it was still a fun experience because we got to meet new people and learn from each other.” Said freshman Jennie Drazin, who was in the committee of Science and Technology.

Everyone was woken up sometime between 7:30 and 8:00, and committees began promptly at 9:00 a.m., with only several short breaks for meals, and with the debates ending at midnight on both Sunday and Monday nights, the students were exhausted.

Finally, on Tuesday morning, all the delegations gathered for one last time…the award ceremony. The entire delegation cheered when a delegate from their school won an award, including the Shalhevet delegation, when Jenny Newman was named best delegate in her committee, and Daniel Schwartz’s name was called for an honorable mention.