Model UN Attends NAIMUN

This article previously appeared in the February/March 2016 issue of the Wire.


From left to right: freshman Juliette Flowers, juinor Nina Raneses, senior Jake Hardison, junior Shahtaj Ali, senior Jonathan Flowers, senior Logan Petkosek, senior Michelle St. John, junior Claudia Santa Anna, and senior Jason Vargas.

If it’s Wednesday right after school, then there’s probably a Model U.N. meeting going on in room 410. Though it’s only been a year since club presidents and seniors Logan Petkosek and Olivia Ireland founded the Model United Nations (more commonly referred to as MUN) club at West Potomac, the team has grown significantly since.


“At the beginning of last school year, Olivia and I were just figuring out what Model U.N. was all about ourselves!” Petkosek recalled.  “We did a lot of research then held our interest meeting. Last year, we attended three conferences and held two [internal conferences at West Potomac].”


This year, however, the Model U.N. team has attended four conferences so far, including NAIMUNLIII (or the Fifty-Third North American Invitational Model United Nations conference), hosted by Georgetown University. NAIMUN is known for being the largest conference in North America.


“NAIMUNLIII was a big milestone for our Model U.N. team,” said Petkosek. “[Held in Washington, D.C.], this is a conference people from all around the world attend, and our growing team was there. This was our very first conference [attended] hosted by a college and will hopefully usher in great things for the team going forward.”


NAIMUNLIII, which was held over President’s Day weekend, was attended by over 3000 delegates, or attendees, from as far away as China and The Netherlands. Senior Jonathan Flowers, who represented Malawi in a double delegation, which is two different people representing a country together, with senior Michelle St. John, was one of the 10 West Potomac students to attend the conference.


“[One of the] best things about [NAIMUN was] the interesting information you learn while researching your country and your topic, and interfacing with people your age from all over the world,” said Flowers. “ The whole conference was really a microcosm of diversity. I met people from Tennessee, the U.K., Germany, and even China.”


Committee sizes were huge, with around 300 people at attendance in the largest general assembly, or the gathering of all member and observer states of the U.N. to discuss a specific topic.


“My NAIMUN committee, [the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, or SPECPOL], was pretty chaotic,” said junior Liam Holgate. Holgate represented Niger along with freshmen Juliette Flowers in a double delegation.  “There was about 115 countries represented and probably 200 kids representing.”


However, NAIMUN was not all about the committees. Along with the traditional Model UN committees and activities , the conference featured “Hilltop Madness,” which showcased Georgetown University’s International dance teams, a delegate dance, and special guest speakers such as president of the American Foreign Service Association, Barbara Stephenson.


“Hilltop Madness was definitely one of my favorite parts of NAIMUN,” said Petkosek. “All the performances were unique styles from different cultures. It really embodied the international spirit of the Model UN conference.”


For some, though, their favorite thing about the conference was the location.


“The best part of NAIMUN was the setting,” said Holgate. “We attended a conference right in the heart of the most powerful city in the world. While walking to the Hilton, we would pass 10 embassies in two blocks. It gave the conference a more important feel, like we actually were the people who could change the world. Maybe we are, who knows.”