Seniors reflect on their last PACMUN

Picture of Bellarmine’s 2022 delegation plus teacher Ken Brown, Mina Nair (alum), and Kelsey Braford (alum).
(Photo courtesy of Bellarmine’s Facebook page)

PACMUN 2022 was a Model UN conference that took place between Nov.19 and Nov. 20. A massive success, PACMUN featured a myriad of committees from the General Assembly to the League of Arab States to FDR’s Cabinet to the Order of the Illuminati as the featured topic of HCC. Bellarmine sent a delegation of over 50 delegates, staffers, and members of secretariat and received nine awards in the process.

Recently, I asked senior Jonas Salazar, a staffer for ACD (Asia Cooperation Dialogue), about his experience as a staffer.

“I staffed ACD and the pre conference experience was fun,” said Salazar, “If I could change something, I would like to see my entire committee in person before the conference, because we couldn’t do that as our schedule did not align. My teammates did a great job and the secretariat did a great job.”

“Chairing was a lot of fun,” he added, “It was hard, but we all switched our position throughout the conference; we kept switching positions so we were all fresh. Everything went well. It was well run. Our delegates were phenomenal.”

Joey Langdon (B’23), a seasoned staffer, also commented about his experiences. “My favorite party was the second day and everyone raised their hand. Seeing everyone well researched and contributing to debate was really rewarding. I staffed the ILO (International Labor Organization) and the pre conference was challenging to say the least, but was overall positive. Communication was the challenging part. It was stressful, but my committee was good, so I wasn’t worried about them that much. My favorite part was getting to staff with a ton of my friends.”

Delegate Levi Coovert (B’23), who represented fictional Bavaria prince Jän Petrus, being interrogated by the Bavarian high council. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Heiser)
Xavier Nazzal (B’23) talking with a delegate representing the Illuminati’s leader, Adam Weishaupt, while directing HCC. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Heiser)

Levi Coovert, a delegate in HCC had this to say of his experience: “PACMUN was an incredibly fun experience and I am glad I went to it. I had a remarkably fun dais: Xavier and Elyse [McKenna (B’23)].”

Picture of Bellarmine’s 2022 delegation anticipating the closing ceremony.
(Photo courtesy of Bellarmine Facebook page)

Recently, I asked senior Noah Wilson, who won Outstanding Delegate for his role as the USSR, the following questions:

  1. What was the committee you staffed? How did the pre-conference experience go?

The last two PACMUNs I attended were PACMUN 2020 and PACMUN 2019. PACMUN 2020 was virtual due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, so this conference was, understandably, significantly different from the others; however, for PACMUN 2019 and PACMUN 2022, they were no different from each other from how I see it, and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be. I had such a good experience in 2019 that I really only attended the 2022 conference for nostalgia; an attempt to relive that one weekend three years ago. I’m happy to say that it paid off. It was everything I remembered and more and I genuinely cannot imagine a better conference than PACMUN 2022.

2. How did you come out on top with an award? Was it hard to win this award?

In the meetings for Model UN club at Bellarmine leading up to the conference, the leadership team strongly emphasized, as they always have, the importance of staying humble, and not becoming a gavel hunter, in an endeavor like seeking an award; however, over the previous nine conferences in my MUN career, I had tried this strategy in many different variations in an attempt to finally break my award drought. But it was to no avail.

After finishing my third year in the program at Bellarmine, I began to realize that all the club really cared about was winning awards, not having fun. So, for PACMUN 2022, I quite literally did the opposite of what I was told to do. I went in with the primary goal of forming strong relationships with the people I would meet. Inside the committee room, I went full “gavel hunter mode” and was among the most spoken in the committee. I sponsored two papers, one for each topic, as well as formed blocs for these respective topics. In the end, this was what finally broke the drought. For this, I had to work harder than I’ve ever worked before in a Model UN conference but clearly, it paid off.

As much as the club may want to claim this award was won in collaboration with their instruction, it was truly won from what I have learned from my own experience in MUN over the years. This is what I encourage future delegates to do as well. There is no “correct way” to do MUN. In essence, it is just like the key to success in all other subjects in life: be yourself. This is what will bring success in MUN and this is what will bring you those so-desired awards.

3. What was your favorite part of the conference? Do you plan to participate in Model UN in college?

If I were to say what my favorite part of the conference was I would say, rather unsurprisingly, the “midnight” crisis. This event is a long-lasting tradition in the Model UN community in which delegates would gather in their committee rooms at midnight (post-COVID-19, it has no longer been held at midnight) and debate about a highly urgent and threatening topic completely unrelated to the topics they were already debating about in normal committee session. I’ve always loved the crisis because it usually delves into the realm of fiction and just general wackiness.

In my committee’s crisis, for example, we were tasked with saving Earth from dragons and sharks which were trying to destroy the human race. In the end, a number of humorous actions were taken including but not limited to the idea to place a nuclear weapon at the Earth’s core and detonate it, destroying the entire planet, the delegate of the USSR being kidnapped by dragons and replaced with a man named Pyotr who subsequently declared the USSR as the “People’s Republic of Pyotr,” and the sentencing of said dragons to an agonizing eternity in Ohio. These fun events are among the many parts of MUN that I truly cherish and which strongly contribute to my sentiment to continue my MUN career into college. I’ve so far attended many conferences as only a delegate but have still not been able to staff one of them due to COVID and how many conferences I was denied from after the introduction of the varsity point system. My hope is that, in college, I will be able to successfully continue my Model UN career as a staffer and maybe even a secretariat who is responsible for running the conference behind the scenes.

Clearly, this PACMUN 2022 experience is one to remember for staffer and delegate alike.

Senior Noah Wilson holding up his award for Outstanding Delegate after the closing ceremony.
Photo courtesy of Bellarmine’s Facebook page