Michigan State University Model United Nations Recap: Pioneering the Future

by Mari on February 21, 2013

This recap was provided by MSUMUN Session XIII Secretary General Ryan Castillo.  Photographs are courtesy of the MSUMUN staff and Elly Drain.  Each session, MSUMUN produces an Opening Video. You can view the Session XIII video here.

Delegates in the WHO committee raise their placards during a moderated caucus.

Michigan State University Model United Nations (MSUMUN) welcomed over 560 delegates from 24 schools in the Midwest region to its thirteenth annual conference. Delegates convened at the MSU Union for a thrilling weekend of debate. This year, MSUMUN offered four general assembly, four specialized, and five crisis (including a joint crisis) committees that presented a broad range of topics to cater to any delegate’s interests – whether it be party politics, genetic ethics, jurisprudence, or even celestial bodies. These committees were led by a staff of students well-versed in Model United Nations as well as their chosen committee topics. Leading up to the conference, each committee was given a Gmail account, where delegates were able to ask questions and staff were able to organize their committees leading up to the conference. As our conference continues to grow and excel, so will our utilization of technology to offer a better experience for our delegates.

MSUMUN was proud to welcome William Yotive, Project Manager of the United Nations Global Teaching and Learning Project, to present the keynote speech at opening ceremonies. Delegates were instantly impressed by his previous work in children’s programming, specifically his work on the children’s show, Dragon Tales. His speech about Human Rights and the United Nations eloquently expressed the need for our generation to build a community that is both just and progressive – that lives up to the ideals engrained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A surprise appearance by Beyoncé, in the form of a video clip of her powerful performance of “I Was Here” in the General Assembly, had delegates inspired and pumped in a way that only Beyoncé could have done. Following Beyoncé, Secretary-General Ryan Castillo continued the theme of community-building, stating “when entering my first Model United Nations committee, I was being welcomed into a community, a global network of like-minded, passionate, and hardworking individuals” and invited delegates to “fully immerse yourself in your committees this weekend” and wished them “ Good debate, good luck, and Go Green!”

Crisis staffer Meghan Mitchum speaks as the first female astronaut in the NASA crisis committee.

The weekend was a complete success. Whether listening to a speech by a MSU professor on genetic ethics during “mocktail” hour at the annual summit of the Special Commission of Genetic Ethics or the United States sending the first woman to space in the 1960s Space Race Joint Crisis, students were invited to pioneer a new future for their world.  Delegates of the Iroquois Confederacy persevered through many threats, remembering the words of the Great Spirit, “”May your longhouses stand forever strong, as the mighty pine stands through all seasons.” John Garner overtook FDR during the 1932 Democratic National Convention, the World Health Organization implemented a strategy to eliminate polio, and UNESCO addressed the problematic status of women in agricultural committees. These were just a few of the many highlights of Session XIII, where delegates were continually challenged by their chairs to delve into the intricacies of each topic.

This session of MSUMUN also pioneered a new dimension of the General Assembly experience by introducing an NGO forum. Three NGOs were offered to the previous top-performing schools of MSUMUN Session XII. The NGOs were American Red Cross, Ushahidi, and Oxfam International. Barred from sponsoring resolution or voting on substantive matters, these unique double-delegation NGOs were free to move among all four general assembly committees using only their voice and Shadow Reports to influence debate in the committees. These NGOs were aided by an NGO Assistant Chair in each GA that provided guidance and direction. The NGO delegates were also aided by groupme chat on their phones where they were able to communicate with the Chairs and be alerted to the happenings in all the committee rooms. All the NGO delegates listed Session XIII as their favorite M.U.N. experience, with the Oxfam Delegate stating it was “the single most exciting experience of my model UN career thus far (and I traveled to Beijing for a conference last summer, so that’s saying something!).” MSUMUN would like to extend many thanks to these delegates for their hard work.

The MSUMUN Secretariat would like to send a heartfelt thanks to our delegates, advisors, staff, and alumni for all their dedication and work. It was clearly reflected by how phenomenal this past weekend was for everyone.

Delegation Awards:

Best Large Delegation: Troy

Outstanding Large Delegation: Lahser

Best Small Delegation: Mattawan

Outstanding Small Delegation: Troy Athens

Best NGO: Oxfam International – Forest Hills Northern

MSUMUN XIII Secretariat poses for one last photo at closing ceremonies.

Assistant Chair Emma Grissom and Chair Anzar Abbas look on as Crisis Director Kelsey Weyhing presents intelligence to the NASA crisis committee.

Secretary General Ryan Castillo is all smiles.

Delegates in UNESCO present their working paper.

MSUMUN does the Wobble at the Delegate Dance.

Secretary General Ryan Castillo chats with delegates.

A guest speaker addresses the Special Commission on Genetic Ethics committee.

Award-winners in DISEC pose with the Dais and Secretariat.

The historical UNSC kept delegates engaged in the politics of the 1990s.


Crisis staffer Dane Dario addresses the Iroquois Confederacy committee.


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