Burr and Burton earned the top award at the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference in early March. NHSMUN is the world’s largest and most prestigious Model UN conference, with students participating from over 70 countries annually.
The Model UN team garnered the Award of Distinction, the highest award given to the team that exemplified an outstanding diplomatic ability. Luigi Travaglini, Tate Morris, Ellis Glazer, and Erin Norton were chosen as Plenary speakers to address the whole conference, while Glazer and Jon Pickarski collected individual awards.
We caught up with Ava Maiella and Ellis Glazer to learn more about the experience.
What is the format of the conference?
Ava: It’s an online conference, and I believe there are about 5,000 delegates from across the world. We’re all in committees where you’re given a topic you have to research prior to the committee. The committee size was about 30 kids, and we basically debated over Zoom.
Ellis: Just to add to that, this conference was spread out over four days. We had four hours in committee, but we also had time in between sessions and after sessions to prepare.
What did you do in class to prepare for the conference?
Ava: Our program has really tried to integrate the shift of technology into our class, which is kind of a bonus and why we were so prepared. All of the kids in the class signed onto the Zoom call so we could continue to practice sending notes and using that feature. With Zoom, you have to learn how to present yourself while someone else is speaking, so just trying to figure out those little nuances of the online experience are important.
Ellis: In the class, we’re divided into the travel team, people who have taken the class before, and the [class] team, people who are currently taking the class. In a normal year, we would always say that you’re doing really well if people come and surround you. The entire dynamic has changed; in a way it’s much more egalitarian. It’s completely different in how you can control a room--now it’s less about controlling and more about being assertive in a room and then being okay with stepping back and not being the center for prolonged periods of time.
How did NHSMUN decide who earned the team awards?
Ellis: NHSMUN has an emphasis on diplomacy, so they have their own award system that includes the Award of Merit, the Award of Excellence, and the Award of Distinction. We got the Award of Distinction, the highest award, which is based more on your ability to be diplomatic: not just how forceful you were, but how much you were able to actually contribute to what was going on in the discussion.
Ava: The chairs were given a list of the people that were in their committee and the schools that they were in. They don’t actually give out awards, but I think they kind of say, “blank contributed a lot.” Then they submitted a report that [the judges] looked over and they saw that we consistently did really well. That made the award feel even better, to know that every single Burr and Burton student who was there contributed something to it.
Students pictured: Aiden Konold, Gabi Craig, Ellis Glazer, Erin Norton, Ava Maiella
Not pictured: Tate Morris, Luigi Travaglini, Jon Pickarski