Recap: SMUNC 2013

by Ellen on December 12, 2013

This recap was provided by Secretary-General Elena Mireille Stephenson

The Society for International Affairs at Stanford (SIAS) recently hosted its annual high school conference, SMUNC, from November 15th to 17th, on Stanford’s sunny Palo Alto campus. Over 500 delegates attended the predominantly crisis-based conference, participating in committees ranging from the Jewish-Roman War of 66 B.C. to the French Revolution to Facebook Board of Directors, in addition to traditional General Assembly committees, including DISEC and WHO.

Friday’s Opening Ceremony began with some reflections by SIAS President Ian Chan ‘14 on his eight years participating in Model U.N. and a few tips for the SMUNC delegates. His remarks were followed by  introductions from Secretary-General Elena Mireille Stephenson ‘14 and Executive Director Donna Saadati-Soto ‘15. The keynote speaker was UNICEF’s Senior Vice President of Program and Community Engagement, Lynn Stratford, who spoke about her work with UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS campaigns, the current crisis following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, for which delegates raised over $1100 over the weekend, and the skill set that she has gained from working for an organization such as UNICEF. The speech was followed by a question and answer period moderated by Secretary-General Stephenson.

Candidates debate in the 1960 election committee

Candidates debate in the 1960 election committee

SMUNC 2013 continued the conference’s tradition of focusing on fast-paced, innovative crisis committees, including four separate JCCs (Joint Crisis Committees), a notable addition to previous SMUNCs, and a rarity on the high school circuit. In these committees, delegates tackled the Egyptian Arab Spring, World War II,  the Korean Peninsula, and the 1960 U.S. Presidential Election. This last committee featured an experimental format that was highly successful: the Kennedy and Nixon campaigns battled through the primaries on Friday night and the summer leading up to the general election on Saturday. The committee culminated with an hour-and-a-half long debate between the candidates on Saturday night, with Secretary-General Stephenson and Under Secretary-General for Committees Kunal Sangani ‘16 serving as live-action graphs of the public opinion.

Small crisis committees are a favorite format of SMUNC

Small crisis committees are a favorite format of SMUNC

In addition to the JCCs, SMUNC 2013 featured a number of crisis cabinets and General Assembly bodies. Delegates were kept up to date on the excitement of the other committees by a newsletter put out during the conference by Press Corps leader Minkee Sohn ‘17.

The Closing Ceremony celebrated the hard work of all SMUNC delegates with humorous recaps of each committee’s highlights, delivered by Under Secretary-Generals Sangani and Sean Hiroshima ‘15, followed by committee awards and delegation awards to Gulf Coast High School (Outstanding Delegation) and California High School (Best Delegation).

A special thank you to our inaugural sponsors, Stanford University’s Division of International, Comparative, and Area Studies, the Program in International Relations; and our partners Zazzle and Best Delegate.

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