Although the United States remains the most popular and competitive environment for Model UN, delegations north of the border in Canada have competed at many international conferences. One of Canada’s most distinguished and decorated high school delegations is Upper Canada College (UCC) – an all-boys’ private school in Toronto, Ontario. Fresh from their recent win at Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium (SSUNS) 2014 for Best Large Delegation, UCC gave me the pleasure of speaking with them about their conference (UMUN) and their reputable delegation.
Last year, UCC travelled to many acclaimed American conferences, such as Berkeley Model United Nations (BMUN) and Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition (CMUNCE). They also competed on Canadian soil at McGill University’s popular conference, SSUNS, which attracts many American and international delegations as well. The prestigious Best Large Delegation was awarded to UCC at both CMUNCE and SSUNS, as well as Best Large Club Delegation at BMUN. Their undefeated season is certainly credited to the fantastic program at Upper Canada College and the high quality delegates it produces. They plan to return to these conferences this year to defend their titles against some of America’s top delegations.
On October 25th, UCC hosted 500 delegates from all over Ontario for the 5th annual UMUN conference. The one-day conference invited delegates of all levels for an educational and competitive model United Nations experience. Committees ranged from an experienced level United Nations Security Council to the historical Camp David Accords. Unfortunately, UMUN V will be the last. “It’s been fantastic to see it grow from a conference of 250. This year, we could have had significantly more [delegates], but we kept it at 500 for quality,” said co-President Michael Pusic. “We’re not doing UMUN VI, because we want to focus on building our team. It’s harder for the senior students to focus on doing this and training newer students.”
At Upper Canada College, the Model UN delegation became a very close-knit team through its many trips and activities. Many alumni returned from their post-secondary endeavours to lend a hand at UMUN. “We view our team as more than just a club. Our alumni always come back to help us out and give us encouragement,” said co-President and Secretary General Aleksei Wan. The UCC alumni network stretches all over the world, and the delegation still runs into its former members at conferences. Vice President Nikhil Kassum commented, “I’ve made a lot of bonds with older grades. I just saw recently the president from two years ago at Columbia, who is now the Director General.”
When asked about how MUN has shaped their high school experience, the whole team chimed in. “Model UN has been an opportunity to pursue some of my interests,” said Wan. “At UCC, there are many opportunities provided for delegates – I was fortunate enough to have the chance to go to BMUN in my first year.” “It’s opened up my eyes to a whole other side of life from a global perspective,” Kassum commented. “It’s the best part of my high school experience,” Pusic added. “I came to UCC for the debate program and fell in love with Model UN.”
If one thing is for certain, it’s that this delegation is very passionate about Model United Nations and their tight knit group. Best of luck, boys!