From January 30-February 1, 2015, just over 500 high school students from 26 different schools came to the University of Florida for the twelfth-annual Gator Model United Nations conference. GatorMUN XII began with Secretary-General Kevin Bowie making his opening remarks to the delegates and introducing all twenty committee directors.
Keynote speaker Michael E. Thurston, the Diplomat-in-Residence for the Southeast United States, then addressed the body and spoke about his extensive career with the Department of State, giving the delegates tips and advice on pursuing a career as a Foreign Service Officer. Aspects of his speech focused on the intricacies of international aid and humanitarian relief and what restrictions the United States faces in dealing with certain states. The delegates then broke off into their committees and started a long weekend of intense caucusing, rigorous resolution writing, and inevitable fun.
The Theme of GatorMUN XII was “Power”. GatorMUN featured a total of 20 committees, split between 10 traditional UN committees and 10 crises committees. From the World Health Organization to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Court of King Henry VIII to S.H.I.E.L.D., GatorMUN XII had it a little bit of everything. With over 100 staff members coming from universities all around the state of Florida, GatorMUN XII provided its delegates with a unique and immersive experience. In addressing traditional topics like Violence Against Women in the Commission on the Status of Women and Child Marriage in the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), delegates were able to debate and write resolutions on real issues that plague the international community today. The innovative ideas expressed in the resolutions passed by each committee reflected the true passion the delegates brought to their committee and maintained throughout the weekend. GatorMUN XII also strived to accommodate delegates with traditional UN committees like the First General Assembly, directed by former Secretary-General Aaron Kalafarski.
The conference celebrated its final day on Sunday, February 1st, by raising over $500 in sales of t-shirts and carnations for its UNICEF charity. Closing Ceremonies concluded with delegates from a variety of schools proudly shaking their committee directors’ hands as they received awards for Best Position Paper, Honorable Mention, Outstanding Delegate, and Best Delegate. The following schools won delegation awards: Florida Virtual School – Outstanding Small Delegation; Spanish River High School – Best Small Delegation; Pine View School – Outstanding Large Delegation; Belen Jesuit – Best Large Delegation.
GatorMUN XII would like to thank all of its delegates, advisors, and staff for helping make GatorMUN XII a fantastic conference!