The Johns Hopkins University MUN Conference (JHUMUNC) was proud to host over 1500 delegates from 87 high schools – some from across the globe – at the stunning Hilton Baltimore. JHUMUNC prides itself in delivering an opportunity to high school students to share in a international relations experience that will turn them into better students and global citizens. For four days, near the beautiful Baltimore Inner Harbor, delegates came together to debate and collaborate on solutions to a wide range of issues. Thirty unique and high-caliber committees, ranging from the Historical World Health Organization to the Senate Committee on the US Recession to Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet of 1982, provided a wide-range of committee topics for delegates. Whether they were interested in historical events, current public policy, or specific councils and summits, delegates found a unique setting to think critically about the world beyond their own. This year was also the 20th anniversary of JHUMUNC, and proved to be a special one for both attendees and staff.
JHUMUNC XX began with an engaging and riveting Opening Ceremonies that included keynote speaker Professor Ryan Calder of the Johns Hopkins University Department of Sociology. Professor Calder captivated delegates, staff and advisors alike with stories from his travels in Libya in 2011, during the height of the Libyan Civil War. Many were amazed by his personal anecdotes and memorable moments with the Libyan people.
JHUMUNC is divided into Standing and Specialized Committees, each catering to a specific type of delegate. Specialized Committees combine organized debate with impromptu crises which force delegates to think on their feet. From multi-committee joint crisis simulations to a variety of councils, cabinets, and summits, JHUMUNC delegates embraced a variety of roles to solve crises as they unfolded. Here is a summary of what transpired: Emperor Palpatine’s Cabinet worked to root out rebellion in the Star Wars universe, but their efforts were in vain as the Rebel Alliance escaped and the committee split into two separate groups as delegates dealt with assassinations and espionage. The NFL Owner’s committee tackled chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) reform and Roger Goodell’s perceived abuse of power. Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet claimed victory in the Falklands War, brought the United States and the USSR to the brink of war, and angered the labor unions in the name of the British economy. Unique to JHUMUNC is a crisis simulation that connects delegates from four individual committees: The Quadrumvirate. This year the Quadrumvirate debated the means to acquiring naval power in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. As the British fought the Dutch, the Dutch fought the Spanish, and the Pirates fought everyone, delegates witnessed duels, kidnappings, naval battles, and the fall of monarchs. In the end, it was the Dutch committee’s strategic plans and zealous fighting that carried them to victory. After a successful debut at JHUMUNC 2017, the application-based Ad-Hoc committee for JHUMUNC’s most experienced delegates involved a meeting of intelligence agencies from around the world. Ad-Hoc delegates recovered a chemical weapon, executed a regime change, and installed a new stable government. Ultimately, delegates in the Specialized committees were able to step into the shoes of important leaders while debating topics with great geographic and historical diversity, ranging from the 1954 Algerian War of Independence to the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake Response in Japan.
In terms of the eight General Assembly (GA) and eight Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) committees, JHUMUNC Standing continued to excel in collaborative and engaging debate, with particular emphasis on high-quality and realistic resolutions to the world’s toughest problems. In GA committees this year, delegates passed funding to allow several more cities to host F1 Grand Prixs than ever before, addressed the black market economy through sustainability, standardization, and reintegration, established an international food and water program to aid refugees affected by the Islamic state, and created a Jigsaw search engine program to further cross cultural and religious interaction to prevent homegrown terrorism. In ECOSOC, the World Bank set “agricultural infrastructure development” as the topic from an open agenda and had a record breaking 39 minute moderated caucus. The African Union responded to the threat of Boko Haram and the UNHCR created public relation campaigns to help aid refugees fleeing the Northern Triangle due to drug violence. The Historical Senate Committee on the US Recession (2008) passed comprehensive bills on fixing the economic crisis and inaugurated Senator Barack Obama. The delegates of ICAO swiftly navigated their way dealing with airline emergencies and jet planes going down over the Amazon. In the Permanent Forum on indigenous issues, delegates passed four resolutions to deal with healthcare disparities that affected Aboriginal Australians and even developed a universal health care plan for Myanmar.
Debating and creating resolutions weren’t the only things that JHUMUNC delegates partook in. Both delegates and advisors enjoyed exploring the beautiful Johns Hopkins campus and the Camden Yards Orioles Stadium during the Friday morning tour sessions. While having a ball at the satisfying Ice Cream Social, JHUMUNCers also had a great time watching and listening to three talented Hopkins student groups: the all-male acapella All Nighters, the all-female acapella Sirens and the JHU official Irish dance team Sláinte. The weekend culminated in a memorable and interesting time at the much anticipated Delegate Dance – which was a great way for students to relax after a long, action-packed conference experience. This year was also the first that JHUMUNC had a Snapchat Geofilter, which was used by delegates and staff to celebrate the 20th anniversary. Overall, JHUMUNC is glad to know that many lasting and meaningful friendships were created over the course of the conference.
The amazing aspect of this year’s conference that made the 20th anniversary ultimately very special was the fundraising effort that JHUMUNCers participated in. This year JHUMUNC’s official charity was Direct Relief, a humanitarian organization that improves the healthcare and lives of people around the world, especially those affected by extreme poverty or emergency situations. They operate under the core value that health is fundamental and essential for all people to learn, work, and live productive lives. Direct Relief is a top-rated charity and the largest charitable medicine program in the United States, and for that reason, JHUMUNC was proud to have them as a partner.
After setting an initial goal of $3,000, JHUMUNC XX attendees shattered all expectations and ultimately donated the largest amount to date from the JHUMUNC organization. Delegates, staff, advisors and parents raised close to $11,000 – with an average of $4 per person – for Direct Relief. The act of charity is beyond powerful, and both JHUMUNC and Direct Relief will be grateful for the incredible contribution made by JHUMUNC attendees this year.
JHUMUNC XX was also proud to congratulate the following delegations in their achievement at this year’s conference. Their excellence in debate, diplomacy and problem-solving abilities should not be understated. Congratulations to:
Best Large Delegation: Mira Costa High School (CA)
Best Small Delegation: W. T. Woodson High School (VA)
Congratulations to everyone involved that took part in a memorable and thrilling JHUMUNC XX conference. The JHUMUNC Secretariat and Directorate team appreciated the hard work everyone did to make this happen and looks forward to seeing everyone back next year for JHUMUNC XXI!