From January 14th to 17th, Columbia University hosted its fifteenth annual Model United Nations Conference and Exposition, CMUNCE in New York. CMUNCE XV has approximately 800 participants from across the country and the world. CMUNCE drew in around 54 schools, 4 of which were international high schools. CMUNCE also had a number of delegates attend the conference as individual delegations.
CMUNCE is unique in that each committee is a crisis-driven committee. As it is their fifteenth year hosting a conference, the Secretariat hoped to expand their conference, but still keep a small committee atmosphere. This year CMUNCE had 25 crisis committees and one Joint Crisis Committee. The committees overall averaged close to 23 delegates per committee. In celebration of their fifteenth year, CMUNCE staff also looked to have fantasy committees as a part of their conference. Secretary-General, Arpi Youssoufian said that while fantasy committees can be fun, she also hoped that they engaged delegates with “historic and contemporary” topics within their committee. The CMUNCE staff worked hard to think of topics that would be relevant to one of their fantasy committees. For example, in their Doctor Who TARDIS Council committee, delegates discussed the overarching themes of immigration and individual rights in the context of the popular, BBC show, Doctor Who.
With such a large number of committees, CMUNCE had a dedicated staff of around 100 staff members. In order to pick the best committees and topics for delegates, the CMUNCE staff worked tirelessly to make sure each dais had topics they were passionate about, so their delegates would be motivated during the conference.
Columbia’s Model United Nations program is different from many other university programs across the country. While, Columbia University has a conference known as CMUNNY for University-level students, they also host two conference for high school students: their philanthropic conference, which is a one-day, no-fee conference and CMUNCE.
CMUNCE also features two interactive portions to their conference that allows delegates to ask actual UN representatives their international relations questions by visiting a variety of UN Missions and touring the UN Headquarters. The CMUNCE Exposition is also an important aspect of the conference that allows participants to discover summer programs and volunteer opportunities.
After four days and eight committee sessions, CMUNCE hosted their closing ceremonies. At the end of the conference, the school delegation awards were presented. The Best Large Delegation went to Saint Ignatius College Prep. The Best Small Delegation went to School Without Walls. The Outstanding Large Delegation went to Dana Hall School, while Princeton High School received Outstanding Small Delegation.
CMUNCE XV’s keynote speaker was U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations, Michele Sison. In her speech, she stated the importance of Model United Nations and its relevance in the international community. She also asserted that her profession needs more passionate people and hopes all CMUNCE participants do not lose their passion for global affairs and world peace as they transition from Model United Nations to careers in the future. The CMUNCE staff and Secretary-General hope everyone participants took Ambassador Sison’s words to heart and that all delegates were able to rise up in the face of opposition and understand their fellow committee members in order to reach invaluable resolutions and lessons.
For more photos from CMUNCE XV, please click here.