Model UN Participates in 34th Annual ILMUNC

Michael Zhang ’21

From Jan. 25 -28, 16 members of Sidwell’s Model United Nations team visited the University of Pennsylvania for the annual Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC). 

At ILMUNC, Model UN teams from many schools engaged in a series of debates moderated by students from the University of Pennsylvania. This year’s group consisted of students from more than 130 schools in 12 different countries.

Junior Amelia Paulsen, a member of the team who went to ILMUNC last year, said, “We had a lot of fun debating all sorts of different topics. Last year, I was in a committee that talked about UN peacekeepers, which was interesting in the perspective of the UN.” 

At the conference, members of each team represent a randomly assigned country and debate global problems from the perspective of that country. Over the course of the trip, every team member debates in four to five committee sessions, in which students discuss different world issues.

Before the conference, students have to write a position paper, which discusses their assigned country’s ideas on an issue. Each committee session lasts two to three hours and are run in the format of a moderated caucus. Countries take turns arguing for their country, and, towards the end, countries who have similar arguments get together and draw up a formal resolution, which outlines what they want  to accomplish. 

Apart from all the debates, students can also engage in social events. “You have free time to get to know the other delegates…You can tour UPenn; you go ice skating. It’s a good time,” Paulsen said. 

Paulsen has been a member of Sidwell Friends Model UN team since her freshman year and was a member of her middle school’s team in seventh and eighth grade. She enjoys debating about global policy, specifically things “you wouldn’t think about.” 

Senior Alexandra Zhang, the treasurer of Sidwell Friends Model UN team, said, “From participating in Model UN, I’ve gotten to learn about many current events around the world. I’ve also gotten to learn about countries that I wouldn’t have otherwise.” 

ILMUNC is just one of the many conferences in which the Sidwell Friends Model UN team participates throughout the year. The team will be hosting a conference later in the spring. Since participating in ILMUNC requires substantial funding, the conference hosted by Sidwell Friends (SFSMUNC) is used to earn back the money spent on the trip. The conference is almost completely student run, and Sidwell Friends Model UN leadership will moderate the debates. SFSMUNC, which will take place on March 3, will involve students from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Leadership on the Model UN team consists of eight positions. Senior Michael Adeyi, who currently serves as secretary general, said that leadership is “a team effort…so it’s very much like a round table environment.” Members of the Model UN leadership coordinate the team’s money, emails and conferences.

According to Adeyi, conferences help team members learn how to “appreciate different perspectives.” Essentially, it challenges students to be able to construct an argument whether one agrees with it or not. 



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