By Heather Fabritze and Maegan White
Student Life Editor and Elm Staff Writer
Over spring break, the Washington College Model United Nations traveled to Paris, France to attend Harvard University’s WorldMUN alongside over 2,000 students from 110 other countries.
The delegation of 10 WC students represented New Zealand in six committees from Sunday, March 12 to Thursday, March 16. At the end of the trip, senior Maegan White and senior Nick Splendoria took home a diplomatic award for their performance as members of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.
According to International Study Council President sophomore Claire Garretson, attending WorldMUN has been a goal of the executive board since Harvard University announced Paris as the conference location.
Garretson worked alongside her fellow executive board members to coordinate flights, book hotels, and obtain conference tickets and social passes. Each MUN delegate pays a $200 deposit for the trip, with the remainder falling under grant and Student Government Association funding.
According to Garretson, a lot of time went into preparing WC MUN participants for the conference through meetings, classwork, readings, and simulations.
“We did not want to send anyone to Paris without first making sure they were comfortable and ready to compete in MUN,” Garretson said. “It is a huge financial and time commitment to participate at a WorldMUN conference.”
Harvard WorldMUN, which according to Garretson is “marketed as the Olympics of Model UN,” is hosted in a different city each year. The change in location gives the opportunity to meet delegates from countries across the globe.
“As a whole, the conference is a really great opportunity for people around the world to get together, meet each other, work on model diplomacy, and have fun,” Garretson said.
ISC Vice President sophomore Quin Kauffman was a member of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee. Participating in the committee, along with various social functions the delegation was able to attend, were the highlights of his trip.
These social events notably included the opening ceremony at the Palais des Congrès, which featured a live performance, as well as a diplomatic cocktail gala at the Carrousel du Louvre. There, delegates had the opportunity to meet invited diplomats.
Other socials included a global village, where the students could try food and drinks from different countries, and a cabaret night.
Kauffman said that being formally introduced to Parisian culture for the first time was another benefit of the trip for him.
“It was a bizarre experience,” Kauffman said. “I got out of the car, looked up, and there was a man [wearing a beret], playing the accordion with a cat on his shoulder…[it] was the most culture shock experience I have ever had.”
Splendoria agreed that having the chance to travel internationally for conferences was a learning experience no person would regret.
While he has been a member of WC MUN since his freshman year, this semester is the first WorldMUN he has been able to attend due to COVID-19 and other conflicts.
“It was devastating to have it canceled [in 2020], and every year since it kept getting canceled or there were reasons we could not make it,” Splendoria said. “It is very cool to be out of the country and it is a great experience.”
As an ECOFIN delegate, Splendoria worked alongside White in conversations about energy markets. The goal of the committee was to create a draft resolution that would restructure the market of New Zealand.
Splendoria said that he and White managed to personally add language and clauses into the final document. Their work during these sessions earned them their award at the end of the conference.
As WorldMUN is a yearly event, the delegates who attended in Paris encourage any students interested in diplomacy, international studies, or travel to consider joining WC MUN in the future.
Photo by Maegan White
Photo Caption: The WorldMUN delegation from WC included a total of 10 students who traveled to Paris, France as a group