From January 31 to February 2, 2014, Gator Model United Nations (GatorMUN) hosted its eleventh annual conference at the University of Florida. This year GatorMUN played host to over 450 high school delegates from over 30 high schools who attended from Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
This year’s GatorMUN kicked off with its keynote speaker, Jacob Atem, one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” Jacob spoke about his experience of leaving Sudan and coming to the United States. After graduating from the University of Florida with his PhD in Health Services, he co-founded the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO). SSHCO’s purpose is to provide medical clinics that serve South Sudanese citizens in order to promote a safer country, and it served as this year’s conference charity. While delivering the keynote, Jacob astutely reminded delegates that by participating in GatorMUN and other Model United Nations conferences, they were “tying the world together, one knot at a time.”
GatorMUN offered 10 Crisis-style and 10 Assembly-style committees in order to target novice and experienced delegates. Each committee ranged from 15 to 40 delegates to ensure that each delegate was given to opportunity to be actively engaged in understanding and debating global issues.
Encompassing its theme of “The Changing International System,” GatorMUN’s committee selection ranged from United Nations-centric topics to global art heists. The exciting batch of committees included the World Food Program, Supreme Court of the United States, League of Arab States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Israeli Cabinet 2020, and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Delegates were tasked with addressing complex global issues including the upholding of human rights, expanding internet access, refugees, controlling the spread of disease, the situation in Venezuela and more. Through the committees and topics, GatorMUN gave delegates an opportunity to experience a wide array of issues tasking the world today.
With its largest staff to date of over 100 staffers from the University of Florida and a handful of staffers coming from the University of North Florida, Florida State University and Eckerd’s College, GatorMUN was the largest student run conference in the South Eastern United States. Furthermore, GatorMUN opened up registration to individual delegates for the first time in order to target schools and students that were not able to attend its previous conferences and received over half a dozen attendees.
Although numerous delegates from numerous schools received awards there were a few delegations that received commendation for their efforts. School awards went to Port Charlotte High School for Best Large Delegation, Pine View High School for Outstanding Large Delegation, Canterbury School of Fort Myers for Best Small Delegation, and Seminole High School for Outstanding Small Delegation.
GatorMUN would like to thank all staff, faculty advisors, and delegates their contributions to the conference and hopes to continue providing an educational and engaging experience for everyone that attends. Get ready for next year’s conference and Go Gators!