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Niles West Model UN Takes on Chicago Conference

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Niles West Model UN Takes on Chicago Conference

The Niles West Model UN team recently competed at the CIMUN conference in downtown Chicago.

The Niles West Model UN team recently competed at the CIMUN conference in downtown Chicago.

The Niles West Model UN team recently competed at the CIMUN conference in downtown Chicago.

The Niles West Model UN team recently competed at the CIMUN conference in downtown Chicago.

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Fifteen students from Niles West participated in the Chicago International Model United Nations Conference Nov.  29 to Dec. 31. The delegation was headed by club adviser Neil Koremanwho spent about six weeks organizing and preparing students for the conference.

This was somewhat a special conference in regards that it was the fifteenth year of the conference, and they were celebrating growing from 200 students attendees to 1,200. Additionally, it was the 50 year anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which took place at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Ave, where the conference annually takes place. The 1968 convention was met with protests and riots, as they would try to nominate a presidential candidate in the wake of Lyndon B. Johnson’s decision to not seek reelection.

To appreciate the historical impact of this monumental moment in the cities history four different committees the conference had related to this event in history. These committees included: The United States Cabinet, The Senate, The Democratic National Convention Executive Committee, Nixon for America, and the Chicago City Council.

Senior Caelin Muniz was enthused about her opportunity to serve on the Chicago City Council. She reflected on simulating what happened as people were being tear gassed outside the building she was in.

“Being able to jump back in time and put myself in the CCC and DNC gave me a new perspective on the politics and tensions at the time. CIMUN actually had delegates protest and scream outside of the DNC room and it made me think ‘man if it’s this crazy now, imagine what it was like back then,'” Muniz said. “I saw first hand the corrupt politics of Chicago and Mayor Daley, as well as witnessing the pressures to conform. It’s one thing to learn about history, it’s another to experience it for yourself.”

1968 was also an important year for racial tensions and military involvement in Vietnam. Novice and freshman delegate Emily Chin represented Senator Thomas J. McIntyre in the Senate.

“Since I was a senator I had to understand what the Senate does, and what my views were so I had to see what laws were passed during that time and what the views of each state were on civil rights and military procurement. So I did a lot of researching and note taking on McIntyre,” Chin said.

1968 had massive implications on a global scale as the Cold War waged on. There were uprising fueled by populist sentiments, and thus the conference also included the following cabinets: South Vietnam, People’s Republic of China, Fifth French Republic, and the Soviet Union. 1968, however, isn’t all the students simulated. In the modern day, the Niles West delegation had a seat in the German Cabinet and several committees of the United Nations.

Sophomore and novice David Moldovan was on SPECPOL, The Special Political and Decolonization committee, and he modeled Estonia. Despite being a first timer he took the necessary steps to research for success at the conference.

“I did research on the topics about the country. My favorite part was learning how Model UN really works since I was new. My partner Dat helped educate me on most things which is how I learned so much so fast,” Moldovan said. With General Assemblies having so many delegates some schools had double delegations in committee which is why Moldovan didn’t represent Estonia alone but had varsity member and Senior Dat Luu to help him out.

Not only were delegates able to understand how multilateral organizations such as the United Nations work and how to engage in consensus leadership, but they were also able to develop close bonds.

“My trip highlight was meeting new people,” Chin said. “It was an amazing experience because I got to meet new people from different states and cities. I also enjoyed getting closer to the rest of the Niles West Model UN team, and being able to get along with everyone.”

Chin also sees value in this activity not only for everyone, especially young women.

“I think that everyone should give Model UN a try, mostly women because I feel as if women are a minority in this sort of profession in modern day. So if you’re considering joining Model UN then you should totally give it a chance because it opens up a lot of ideas, and different opinions that are not really noticed naturally.”

This conference served as an opportunity for the many novices who joined this year to develop an understanding of the basic functions and operations of the activity such as parliamentary procedure, and gain a deeper understanding of current global issues.  The delegation’s next conference will be at the University of Michigan’s Model United Nations conference in early January.

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