The 16th annual Regional High School Model United Nations (RHSMUN) conference was held in San Francisco this past weekend and featured a very unique and historic venue: the Herbst Theater where the UN Charter was signed and is therefore the birthplace of the United Nations! Delegates were able to spend their Plenary Session speaking for or against resolutions in the theater and Closing Ceremonies was held there as well.
The International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA) organizes the conference and has a strong educational mission behind its simulation of the United Nations. This was re-emphasized during Closing Ceremonies, when Director-General Jullian Petrie took inspiration from a Calvin & Hobbes comic and rhetorically asked why people tend to play war and not peace? Indeed, Model UN conferences are meant to play peace and teach students the benefits of diplomatic negotiation rather than devolve into war games or power delegate tactics.
Closing Ceremonies also featured an inspiration speech about making change now given by three second- and third-grade students from Galarza Elementary School in San Jose, California — the trio received a standing ovation. Their teacher, Jennifer Tschetter, is on the IMUNA Board of Directors and is serving in Teach for America.
Hopefully RHSMUN inspired these students to focus on diplomacy and peace as well and to make real change after this conference. After all, Secretary-General Steven Sorenson did remind delegates to “never let anyone tell you that this experience is not real.” It is real and it can lead to real change. At the very least, the conference has inspired many students to give back their experience as the very professional RHSMUN staff was primarily composed of former conference delegates who are now studying in universities across the country.
We have photos of the conference in action below, but make sure to check out the full photo album on our Facebook page!
Watch their speech here!
RHSMUN de-emphasizes awards but several delegation awards were given out. The Award of Distinction went to Huntington Beach High School, the Award of Excellence went to Mira Costa High School, the Award of Merit went to Marymount High School, and the Research Award went to Kealakehe High School.
Congrats to all the delegates and staff on a successful and very professionally organized conference. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the photos here!
Thank you to the IMUNA Board of Directors and to Secretary-General Steven Sorensen and the rest of the RHSMUN staff for the warm welcome. Good luck to Devon Tivona and Erica Li who were announced as next year’s Secretary-General and Director-General, respectively. And for those of you who will be doing NHSMUN — Ryan will see you there!