In January, more than a dozen aspiring diplomats from St. Mark’s competed in the 67th session of the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN), in an entirely virtual format. The competition attracted more than 4,000 high school students and faculty advisors from hundreds of high schools around the world. Participants gained insight into the workings of the United Nations and the dynamics of international relations by assuming the roles of world leaders and international decision-makers.
The event consists of myriad committee topics across an active schedule. One MUN member is usually assigned to each committee, and their goal is to vie for their country’s best interests. “The beauty of MUN arises from the ability to tackle various social conflicts and problems with peers of your age,” said Pranay Sinkre ’22. “Energetic debate and fervent writing create an atmosphere like no other.”
As a result of their hard work and thorough preparation, five of the St. Mark’s delegates came home with major awards:
• Max Palys ’21: Best Delegate in the Native American Tribal Conference
• Ekansh Tambe ’22: Honorable Mention in the United States Constitutional Convention
• Pranay Sinkre ’22: Honorable Mention in the United States Constitutional Convention
• Tomek Marczewksi ’22: Outstanding Delegate International Children’s Fund
• Bijaan Noormohamed ’23: Diplomatic Commendation in the UN High Commission for Refugees
Other Marksmen competing on the team included Axel Icazbalceta ’22, Aadi Khasgiwala ’21, Aaryan Puri ’21, Abhi Jain ’22, Isaac Song ’22, Mathew Schopmeyer ’21, Miller Wendorf ’24, Rahul Gunukula ’22, and Reid Fundis ’21.
Max recalled one unique challenge during the HMUN: “I had the great fortune of being in a committee that had a night crisis, and it was a fantastically fun experience. I never thought debating Ottoman Empire policy would somehow fuel me with energy at 2:30 a.m.”
“MUN encourages students to develop a collaborative problem-solving mindset and gives them opportunities to roleplay positions and perspectives that they might not be immediately familiar with,” said David Fisher, St. Mark’s Model UN Faculty sponsor and History and Social Sciences Department Chair. “As a result, MUN is not only a fun experience and an exercise in imagination but is also a vehicle for learning skills essential for successful global citizenship in the 21st century.”
The St. Mark’s MUN participates in several events throughout the year and looks forward to returning to in-person competition soon. Boys interested in international affairs and public speaking are encouraged to consider joining.