Developing Diplomacy: Notes from Dartmouth MUN’s 14th Year

42 hours, 500 high school students, 60 Dartmouth staffers, 13 committees and countless moments of learning. While the 14thannual Dartmouth Model United Nations Conference concluded with much success April 7, the weekend marked a year of many firsts for the Dartmouth MUN team. First DartMUN conference to include designated crisis managers for each crisis and Ad Hoc committee, first all-female executive Secretariat, and first time the team has traveled to a collegiate conference.

For fourteen years, the Dartmouth Model United Nations Team has hosted hundreds of high school students each spring during a weekend-long simulation in order to teach delegates diplomatic skills while diving into the details of global issues not typically covered in the classroom. This year, delegates debated in thirteen different committees on issues ranging in topic from the ‘Democratization of Venezuela’to ‘Brexit’ and in time from ‘The Fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate’all the way to the near future with ‘Post-Apocalyptic Asia’. The conference boasted four general assemblies, four specialized committees such as the UNHRC, two current crisis committees, as well as one future crisis committee, one historical crisis committee and one Ad Hoc committee where delegates were given their topic the first day of the conference. Over the weekend, delegates representing countries within the United Nations were tasked with writing comprehensive resolutions to issues like the demilitarization of the Arctic and the status of women in developing nationswhile simultaneouslyfielding real-time crises created to simulate actual conflicts facing global leaders.  

Unlike in past years, the staff framework for the crisis and Ad Hoc committees was reorganized to be more collaborative through the creation of crisis managers. Many MUN conferences perpetuate a hierarchical structure within committees with one committee director supported by many assistant directors and crisis staffers. This year we experimented with a more egalitarian structure with two committee directors and two crisis managers equally contributing to the creation of their topic and planning for the conference. Through this team-based system, the crisis and Ad Hoc committees were able to develop more dynamic crises and respond to the delegates quickly (a struggle when working with over 18 highly motivated high school students per committee). The feedback from the delegates and faculty advisors was overwhelmingly positive with one advisor commenting that “we go to many conferences nationally and internationally and these are the best run crisis committees we’ve ever experienced.” 

The conference also marked the first time that DartMUN was led by an all-female executive Secretariat. While women have served in the position of Director General (in charge of external logistics) with some frequency, Lauren Bishop ’19 was only the second female Secretary General in the history of Dartmouth’s MUN team and the first to serve alongside a female Director General, Shelley Wang ’21. Mila Escajadillo ’21, the Chief of Staff, rounded out this dynamic trio. Through their hard work, these women defied the stereotypical image of a global leader, a necessity seeing as less than 30% of the actual ambassadors to the UN are women.  

Beyond the conference, fourteen members of the Dartmouth MUN team travelled to Montreal during the winter term to compete in McMUN, a collegiate MUN conference hosted by McGill University. Over four days, the team participated in a range of committees from the International Court of Justice focused on the Russian intervention in the 2016 US presidential elections to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, a historical committee based in 1970s Canada. We all had a wonderful time competing as delegates ourselves and were able to observe how another college runs their MUN conference in order to improve DartMUN XIV. One of our delegates, Jennifer Qian ’22, was even awarded a Verbal Commendation for her excellent work in the McMUN Consulting committee.  

Together, all these experiences created an unforgettable year which was only possible due to the hard work and dedication of our team members as well as the unparalleled support of our Rockefeller staff advisor Lynn Spencer to whom we are all immensely grateful.  

Written by Lauren Bishop, Secretary General of DartMUN XIV and Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant