By Daniel Salazar

On February 1 through 4, 20 of the 40 members of the Model United Nations group had the opportunity to attend Model United Nations of the University of Chicago, or MUNUC for short.

At this weekend event, over 3,000 high schoolers from around the globe assume the role of diplomats and ambassadors to simulate the kind of discussions that are held at a real United Nations meeting. Volunteers from the University work hand-in-hand with a variety of students. MUNUC helps students get firsthand experience and understanding of the challenges of international diplomacy. It forces them to debate solutions and focus on the big picture of the world around them. Here the students are referred to by others as delegates.

The goal of this conference is to help delegates develop personal skills, offer social interactions, and make them feel more comfortable in their environment. In preparation, delegates spend hours and multiple meetings researching and understanding their topic and the nation that they were assigned. Of course, along with the research, they need other important things, such as snacks and an aux cord.

On February 1 at 9 a.m., the adventure was underway. After loading suitcases and suit jackets, students left the school and headed for Chicago. They arrived at the historic 143-year-old Palmer House Hotel, where the conference took place. Just entering the lobby, one can appreciate the beauty of the high ceilings and painted murals. Once they put their bags away, the students went to lunch and to explore downtown for a couple hours. On the journey they passed by Willis Tower and Trump Tower and stopped at all the shops along the way.

The next morning was filled with breakfast at a local diner and sightseeing. The group traveled to Millennium Park to take pictures with the giant and infamous Bean. Afterwards they went to the Chicago Art Institute, a place filled with classic and exotic works of art, though the students felt truly connected to a special American Gothic piece. Afterwards they hurried back to change and attend their session.
After spending Thursday, Friday, and Saturday debating a variety of topics and coming up with a diverse group of solutions, most of the committees came up with something called a resolution paper. The resolution paper is the end result after the day of debating and arguing and bringing up points. Their hard work has paid off. Saturday night, after going out to get some world-renowned deep dish pizza, the students came back to a warm welcome, the delegates dance.

The committees spent Sunday debating what are considered finding amendments, which can cover a range of topics. After committees, the Muscatine Model UN team took off back to Iowa.

This experience had substantial effects on all the students involved. Senior

Chris Kenefick says, “This definitely helps with your social skills and public speaking. I spoke twice in a room of 300 people. I feel like that’s going to help a lot with my social skills.”

Other members of the group agreed. As far as these students are concerned, they plan to stay in the Model United Nations and hopefully use this experience to help other people throughout their lives.