NAIMUN Feature: Staff Highlights

by Nikita on February 17, 2014

This weekend from February 13th – February 16th, the Georgetown International Relations Association hosted NAIMUN LI, which consisted of several dedicated and talented members. Best Delegate staff members Nikita Barde and Ashley Rhoades interviewed a few NAIMUN staff members to understand their role and hear their thoughts regarding the success of the conference.

Staff Highlights:

Pavan Rajgopal

Pavan Rajgopal

Name: Pavan Rajgopal

Role: Secretary General

Comments: Pavan believes that NAIMUN is ideal, primarily because of its location in Washington DC, and its commitment to social justice and philanthropic initiative. He is proud of the fact that NAIMUN staff members are extremely well trained and well rehearsed in the topics they proposed for the conference. Pavan also noted that several of the chairs are even writing their Georgetown theses on subjects related to their respective committees. This dedication is reflective of the level of research and thought put into the committee experience at NAIMUN.

Quote: “We appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication the NAIMUN staff has brought to this conference, and it’s great to see them enjoy the role they have as educators in a context larger than Model UN”

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Sarah Pemberton

Name: Sarah Pemberton

Role: Executive Director

Comments: Sarah was pleasantly surprised by the way NAIMUN exceeded her expectations this year, due to the snowstorm that prevented several delegates from reaching the conference on time, if at all. She is thankful for the way the NAIMUN staff and hotel staff adapted their original plans and were flexible enough to pull off the conference. Sarah cares deeply about individual delegate experiences, and was more than ready to rise to the challenge of encouraging students to use their Model UN experience to make a  real difference in their lives. She was also pleased by delegate enthusiasm for the “Hilltop Madness” event, delegate dance, guest speaker, and Georgetown tours. NAIMUN has a lot to offer in Sarah’s eyes, and she is glad she could be a part of it this year.

Quote: “Delegates have the ability to impact global affairs not just in the future, but today, and NAIMUN now adds a dimension that shows the tangible effects that 4 days can have on the world through our philanthropy, which can be seen in our chosen charity’s effecting of long-term literacy. I can only hope that delegates will continue such endeavors after NAIMUN and have a real impact on society”

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Neil Christy

Name: Neil Christy

Role: Chief of Staff

Job: Neil  is responsible for overseeing the NAIMUN staff and making sure that all logistics are in place for the conference. Neil handles staff communication, and was extremely proactive about the snowstorm by helping the staff plan their transportation to the conference hotel after public transportation was shut down in DC.

Comments: Neil is thankful for the diligent efforts of the NAIMUN staff this year, particularly how they handled the unexpected snowstorm with flexibility and ingenuity. He believes that everyone involved in the conference went above and beyond, with advisors working hard to ensure their students would be able to attend as planned, and delegates from all over the world journeying to the conference in brutal weather conditions. One unique aspect of NAIMUN that Neil finds important is the staff training, which included a panel discussion with experienced staff and NAIMUN alumni, which he believes contributed to the smooth committee experience during the conference.

Quote: “It’s extremely important for experienced staff members to share their experiences with younger members so the legacy of NAIMUN can be passed down. By doing this, we can ensure that our delegates leave the conference prepared to face and solve real world problems in an efficient manner”

Sam Brothers

Sam Brothers

Name: Sam Brothers

Role: Undersecretary General of the United States National Security Apparatus

Job: Sam’s job is to oversee the crisis managers and crisis analysts in charge of implementing crisis updates and directives. He came up with the proposal for the organ United Nations Security Apparatus (UNSA) which consists of 4 committees including the Senate, CIA, NSC, and State Department committees which occur simultaneously in real time. He writes organ-wide committee updates, and crisis chairs are responsible for applying them to the jurisdiction and agenda of their own specific committees.

Comments on the NAIMUN Crisis Team Strategy: The crisis team has many measures for running committees, including spreadsheets with timetables and crisis responsibilities, a wall push board where staff can post updates from their committees in real time, and crisis analysts to keep track of committee proceedings

Quotes: “The key to running a successful crisis is having individuals on staff with strong knowledge regarding the topics and committees. We focus on having multi-faceted and engaging crisis material to give students a broader picture of the world”

 “The best part of my job is engaging with students on a substance based level, and it’s great being a part of both the crisis staff and secretariat to achieve this”

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Brian Cunningham

Name: Brian Cunningham

Role: Director of Philanthropy

Job: Brian was responsible for selecting the philanthropic organization for NAIMUN LI’s fundraising this year. The organization he selected, Room to Read, was founded by John Wood, who spoke to NAIMUN students this year regarding the charity’s goal to promote literacy in the developing world. Brian was recommended this organization by a friend, and also proceeded to hear Wood speak at the annual DC gala. Brian felt that Wood represented a very real issue in the world today, and wanted students to be engaged and touched in the same way he was.

Quote: “Part of NAIMUN’s philanthropic initiative is to link the work that students do in a Model UN committee session to the real world, in order to show them how they can impact the world starting today”

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Ryan Cunningham

Name: Ryan Cunningham

Role: Director of Media and Technology

Job: Ryan led efforts to encourage students to engage in NAIMUN’s philanthropic initiative through social media, and this year, he implemented an initiative that combined both philanthropy and technology to achieve the conference’s goal.

Comments: In addition to traditional fundraising, Ryan proposed the idea of having students donate through Dogecoin, an “open source peer-to-peer cryptocurrency” that allows students to make Dogecoin bids that would be converted into real currency towards Room to Read. Another unique fundraising idea was partnering up with the artist Foxfaction, who generously agreed to donate 10% of the profits from his new album “Diamond Rainbows” towards NAIMUN’s fundraising efforts this year Ryan also noted that he thought Room to Read was an excellent choice of charity, not only for the value of the work the organization does, but because he felt that the students at NAIMUN were able to relate to the cause on a personal level, which was aided by having a speaker as engaging as John Wood to motivate the students to make their own difference in society.

Quote: “Technology is quickly developing, and I think it’s important that students know how much of an impact they can have on the world today. There are many new innovative, creative ways out there to make a difference in the world”

Brian Carden

Name: Brian Carden

Role: Director of Business

Job: Brian is responsible for the production of materials such as badges, placards, and folders, as well as obtaining any additional supplies and resources needed by the conference. He is also in charge of technology equipment and website management for NAIMUN this year.

Comments: Coming from an international background himself, Brian appreciate the opportunity to meet students from all over the globe (China, India, etc.), and to see them learn and grow through the NAIMUN experience.

Quote: “NAIMUN helps delegates develop skills that go way beyond public speaking. It helps them develop a different way of thinking and helps create self confidence so they can make a real difference”

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