Georgetown alumni celebrate 50 years of NAIMUN

by Mari on February 24, 2013

During the opening ceremonies of NAIMUN 50, Secretary General Theresa Lou and Executive Director Cody Cowan talked about the legacy of NAIMUN, and the conference’s staff. NAIMUN’s staff, they said, is not just about crafting committees, counting votes, and moderating debate; it’s about creating a legacy of camaraderie and family. NAIMUN 50 included not only programming for delegates and moderators; secretariat also made sure to include events for Alumni to get together and reminisce NAIMUNs past. (See: NAIMUN 50’s Opening Ceremonies Video)

Jag Singh, School of Foreign Service Class of 2012 graduate and Secretary General of NAIMUN 48 also visited the Washington Hilton this weekend to see the conference that he helped shape and grow.

NAIMUN Alumni Shuo Yan Tan, Shareq Rashid, and Gilbert Glickstein pose for a photo outside the crisis committee rooms.

“The staff and secretariat did a really good job of making alumni feel welcome at this year’s conference,” said Singh. “I even got the opportunity to chair briefly in one of the National Security Apparatus committees.”

Gilbert Glickstein, School of Foreign Service Class of 2011 graduate visited NAIMUN, and gave back to the conference by Dj-ing the delegate dance on Saturday night.

“It was amazing that someone who staffed NAIMUN 23 showed up, as well as very many recent graduates,” said Glickstien. “Special shoutout to Jenn Zink, who was in charge of alumni programming, for all the hard work she put in and for making sure everything went smoothly.”

Glickstein said that the historical committees that connected NAIMUN 50 to the first NAIMUN were a creative move on the part of staff and secretariat.

“I thought that having multiple 1963 committees was a really neat idea, and the committees I visited seemed to be invested in debate, but also enjoying the experience and enjoying the staffers, especially Sammy Lin wearing a tri-corner hat and Mashal Shah doing Bhangra,” said Glickstein.

Singh, who is currently a legal analyst at the boutique law firm, Kobre & Kim, said that Model UN, and NAIMUN shaped his ambitions and career path choice.

“When I was in high school, NAIMUN meant an opportunity to explore my passion in international affairs, while building friendships that have lasted to this day. In college I felt similarly, but there was a pedagogic element to the conference as well that made me feel like I was truly making a difference in the lives of others,” said Singh. “It was truly special to be able to take an experience like MUN, which was so formative for my own career and aspirations, and be able to give that to others; there is no comparison.”

Deven Comen, former NAIMUN staffer and current moderator for the Anacostia High School Delegation chats with her delegation.

Deven Comen, Georgetown College Class of 2012 graduate also came back to NAIMUN, but with a different purpose than most other alumni. Comen is a 9th grade English teacher through Teach for America, and served as the moderator for the Anacostia High School delegation. She is currently earning her masters degree in special education from George Mason University.

“NAIMUN 50 was an odd transition for me; symbolizing a shift from constructor to coach, from chair to moderator,” said Comen. “I couldn’t have asked for a more meaningful experience to have the opportunity to take my beloved students to a life-changing weekend and expose them to the world of MUN.”

Comen said there are many facets of Model UN that, as a mentor for a high school Model UN program, she thought were important to stress to her students before attending NAIMUN 50.

“A good MUN mentor must always make Model UN relevant to student lives,” said Comen. “While pushing the rigor and focus on content is important, I also wanted my students to be very much in tune with the other benefits of Model UN: gaining social and teamwork skills as well as connecting their lives to the conflicts and triumphs facing our global community.”

Glickstein said that the conference has evolved into a holistic learning opportunity for the delegates by allowing them to experience Georgetown University not just through Model UN, but through additional programming as well.

“Starting with Anupam (Chakravarty, NAIMUN 46 Secretary General), NAIMUN has focused more on social justice, philanthropy, and giving delegates a view of Georgetown as an institution through Hilltop Madness, the Friday-night programming for delegates,” said Glickstien. “It’s a great way for delegates to learn more about the Georgetown and college experience, and everyone who worked on getting Hilltop Madness and the Social Justice Roundtable off the ground, as well as those who have improved it since it began, deserve a huge amount of credit.”

Singh said his time as a delegate at NAIMUN for J.P. Stevens High School in New Jersey and his service on staff and as Secretary General are some of the most memorable times of his high school and undergraduate years.

Jag Singh (center), pictured with the Secretaries General of NAIMUN 45, 46, 47, 49, and 50.

“I’ll never forget the bonds built during NAIMUN 47, when the staff really came together to take head on the one and only Snowpocalypse (DC’s worst snow storm in over 100 years),” said Singh. “NAIMUN 48 will always have a special place in my heart, because my partner (Kelsie Wilhelm, Director-General of NAIMUN 48) and I really had the opportunity to shape it according to our own vision.”

Glickstien emphasized the importance of charity at NAIMUN as one of his most favorite aspects of the conference. “One of the best parts of NAIMUN is raising money for charity; over the course of the weekend NAIMUN staffers, all of whom are highly accomplished and all of whom will go on to great things after graduating, all lose their dignity in the name of raising money for a worthy cause,” said Glickstein. “Whether it’s getting pied in the face, teaching a committee dance moves, or something else, it’s great to see everyone buy into raising money for a worthy cause.” (See: NAIMUN 50’s UN Women Committee Harlem Shake Video)


In Their Own Words: Alumni share their NAIMUN memories

Deven’s NAIMUN memory:

My favorite memory this NAIMUN was running into one of my former delegates who eagerly addressed my students about the power of Model UN and her own personal development through her participation. Gloria is an incredibly articulate, bright, and inspiring young woman who left my kids awestruck. More than any stories I could share, having a fellow peer reveal the momentous impact Model UN has on her passions and interests really impacted my students.


Gilbert’s NAIMUN memory:

In my junior year, when I chaired Special Summit on the Seas, I was able to raise the most money per capita of any GA committee for our conference charity. I did this by getting a “Pretty Princess” makeover by delegates and by staying up until 4 am on Saturday learning Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance to perform in committee.


Jag’s NAIMUN memory:

So my senior year I roomed with a group of three other guys from the executive board of my high school MUN program (big shout out to JPS!). We let everyone else take their rooms first, and when it came time for us to get our room, we were told by the hotel that everything else was booked, except for one of the corner suites. So of course, we go upstairs and see the biggest room ever – I’m talking like the size of a penthouse. One of my buddies (a pretty big guy) opens the door and starts jumping around the room in excitement. We’re all checking out the digs, and then all of a sudden I hear a massive CRASH. I immediately turn around and see my friend on the floor moaning in agony next to a pile of broken glass. Turns out, in his excitement he thought the mirror was an entranceway to another part of the room and ran STRAIGHT into it, shattering the thing into a thousand pieces. We had a pretty good laugh at the time.

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