WMHSMUN XXVII: Continuing a Tradition of Excellence in Diplomacy

by prathmj on December 1, 2013

This recap was provided by Matthew Heffernan, the Media Director of the 27th William and Mary High School Model United Nations Conference (WMHSMUN). 

The College of William & Mary’s International Relations Club held its twenty-seventh WMHSMUN conference with over 1,300 high school delegates in attendance this past weekend in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. The twenty-seventh session, under the direction of Secretary-General Serena Saffarini, showed that even though the conference has been held since the 1980’s, each year always brings innovation, modernity, and competition to one of the high school MUN circuit’s most competitive conferences.

Delegates from across the United States came to Williamsburg for a variety of innovative committees. This year, WMHSMUN was comprised of 12 General Assemblies and 15 Specialized Agencies.

Delegates prepare to vote as a Working Paper is finished being introduced

Delegates prepare to vote as a Working Paper is finished being introduced

WMHSMUN’s General Assemblies, overseen by Undersecretary-General Karthik Kumarappan, covered a range of topics, from more traditional committees such as the African Union and Arab League to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature: World Conservation Congress. In addition, one of WMHSMUN’s offerings was Novice Committees, in which delegates new to Model United Nations could compete in General Assemblies.

Delegates in the IUCN engaged in a scientific poster session before moving on to traditional debate

Delegates in the IUCN engaged in a scientific poster session before moving on to traditional debate

Delegates in the General Assemblies engaged in a range of topics, from Cybercrime and Pharmaceutical Trafficking to the Human Genetics Programme, the Political Status of Western Sahara, and the current topic of Iranian Nuclear Investigation.  The highlight of the General Assemblies was the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, where the first session featured a poster session in the Friday session and a Guest Lecture by William & Mary Professor Christopher Freiman, a specialist whose work has appeared in Environmental Values, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

Specialized Agencies, the purview of Undersecretary-General Christian McConville, had more delegates than ever before in a wider variety of committees than ever before and to resounding success. Delegates enjoyed the more traditional UNSC, but also the Post-Milosevic Serbian Cabinet committee and the Council of Trent. WMHSMUN XXVII also had two joint crisis committees: the 1969 Sino-Soviet Border Conflict and a Post-9/11 join crisis focusing on the relationship between the United States and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

One of WMHSMUN’s most innovative committees was the NGO Programme, led by director Taylor Renard. Double-delegations represented different Non-Governmental Organizations and visited General Assemblies and joined in the debate to suggest policies that the respective NGOs would financially support with much success.

The Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary General

The Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary General

The classic flagship committee of WMHSMUN, the Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary General, was staffed by the past two Secretaries-General Katie Mitchell and William Shimer and simulated warring factions in Japan during the Meiji Restoration. The committee split in two during the conflict, with Secretary-General of WMHSMUN XXVI, Katie Mitchell, taking one half of the committee and Secretary-General of WMHSMUN XXV, William Shimer, taking the other half. With defections and infighting, the committee warred on and came together at the end for a final battle. Computer simulations and the Shakespeare in the Dark acting troupe enhanced the committee, resulting in a more intense experience for the delegates.

WMHSMUN’s signature out-of-committee experience was updated by Conference Development Director, Brendan McNamara, and the Assistant Conference Development Director Rukmini Bhugra. This year introduced WMHSFood and WMHSFun to the current offerings of the Student Leadership Summit, Ghost Tours, and Delegate Dance. WMHSFood offered delegates Friday night’s dinner from a variety of food vendors and WHSFun took place on Friday and offered delegates the chance to play video games, learn more about NGOs active on William & Mary’s campus, and a variety of other activities.


Best Large Delegation: Langley High School

Outstanding Large Delegation: Port Charlotte High School

Best Small Delegation: West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

Outstanding Small Delegation: School Without Walls

Finally, the most prestigious award WMHSMUN offers each year is the Coon Award for Diplomacy. Named after the Secretary-General of WMHSMUN IX, the Coon Award for Diplomacy is awarded to the school which most embodies the ideals of diplomacy and representation in Model United Nations. This year, the Coon Award for Diplomacy was awarded to Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School.

Notable performances were also given by Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Mira Costa High School, and John P. Stevens High School.

WMHSMUN XXVII Secretariat:

Serena Saffarini, Secretary-General

Clayton Southerly, Director-General

Melanie Gilbert, Registration Director

Karthik Kumarappan, Undersecretary-General for General Assemblies

Christian McConville, Undersecretary-General for Specialized Agencies

Matthew Heffernan, Media Director

Phoebe Benich, Chief of Staff

Brendan McNamara, Conference Development Director

Mimi Jou, Director of Technology

Lily Li, Director of Technology

Rukmini Bhugra, Assistant Conference Development Director

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