Model UN Takes on Harvard


Grace Wood

Eight students in the Model UN Club traveled to Boston to compete in the Harvard Model UN Conference, the biggest high school Model UN conference in the world, from Jan. 25 to 29.

The Model UN Club involves simulating a diplomatic meeting where participants work as delegates of different countries and work to solve international problems while representing their respective governments. The conferences consist of short speeches, around 30 to 45 seconds, followed by blocks of time for delegates to form resolutions for their specific problem. Participants can win several awards for their work in the simulation once the session ends. Throughout the year, Miramonte Model UN competes with other schools in conferences. However, this particular conference is unique as the Model UN Club traveled to Boston for it and met people from all over the world. 

Due to COVID-19, this was the club’s first time attending the conference since 2020. The presidents of the club, seniors Michelle Giovinazzo and Mia Balonick worked to make the trip possible along with the help of Lynn Barney. Teacher advisor Xavier Frippiat along with parent chaperone Sandi Balonick attended the trip. “My role was to make sure all of the MHS competitors were safe, accounted for, got to and from Boston safely, and if they had any kind of an emergency I was there to help,” Sandi Balonick said. 

Though the club consists of approximately 50 members, only eight were able to attend the conference. Every member of the club had the chance to try out and was chosen based on their speaking ability, general knowledge of the subject, and communication skills. In the end along with Giovianzzo and Balonick, Armaan Raza, Fiona Hughes, Sophie Wampler, Casey Scheiner, Leo Ding, and Sumedha Kota attended the conference. “I was the Delegation of Nigeria in the United Nations Environment Programme, where we debated various issues from climate change to renewable energy. It was very tiring (some sessions lasted until midnight) but one of my most enjoyable high school experiences,” senior Leo Ding said.

Leaving the conference, Miramonte won two awards. Junior Armaan Raza represented the Republic of Malta in the atomic energy committee and received a diplomatic condemnation. Giovanazzo and Balonick worked as delegates for Nigeria in the UN development program working to fix the system of global humanitarian aid and received an honorable mention. 

After the conference, both students and chaperones agreed that the trip was a worthwhile, valuable experience. “The trip was one of the highlights of high school because I felt like I got much closer to other Miramonte people there and met many more students from UAE, Peru, Venezuela, and many more places. The trip also highlighted the importance of Model UN because it really does foster collaboration and global thinking skills in a unique way,” Giovanazzo said.