Words: Maggie Ju
On Saturday, November 11, the ninth annual Centennial High School Model United Nations Conference (CHSMUNC) was held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eighteen high schools from Maryland, northern Virginia, and Washington D.C. yielded a total attendance of over 300 delegates.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., formally-dressed delegates filtered into the school to register, and proceeded into the cafeteria. At 9 a.m., the student leaders of the CHS Model UN club made opening remarks at the podium. They stepped aside for the keynote speaker, Maricy Schmitz of the Brazilian Embassy, who delivered a speech about the value of diplomacy. When the applause ebbed away, the delegates dispersed into their committees’ rooms, ready to begin the conference.
Split into nine committees, delegates representing countries or acting as specific people debated and drafted resolutions to issues. The largest committee was the General Assembly, with over 60 delegates, discussing indigenous people’s rights. Other topics were varied — the Joint Crisis Committee devised plans for the fate of Harry Potter, while the Historical Committee simulated the Greek city-states uniting against the Persian invasion.
CHSMUNC is the largest high school-sponsored Model UN conference in Maryland, and each year, a member of CHS Model UN assumes the role of its coordinator. This year, the Fall Coordinator was sophomore Caio Goolsby. He coordinated the staff, contacted schools, and kept track of delegates.
“One of the most grueling duties was giving assignments,” he said. “I had to assign people or nations to all 318 delegates that attended the conference.”
Goolsby also found the keynote speaker — a feat made even more impressive by the fact that it was coordinated internationally. He credited many people in his endeavors, including CHS Model UN’s Co-Secretary Generals, the club’s teacher advisors, and his parents.
“My staff and I, we really poured our hearts and souls into that conference,” Goolsby said.
Charu Dwivedi, a sophomore at Centennial, worked on the United Nations Security Council to solve the current conflict in Ukraine. It was her second time attending CHSMUNC.
She said, “It is guaranteed that every attendee will learn something valuable from the event, whether that be about an important world issue, working with others, communication, or how the UN works.”
CHSMUNC is open to those who do not have any experience with conference procedure, serving as a gateway to collegiate conferences for novices. One such novice was freshman Chris Lidard, who expressed some apprehensions before the conference.
“I was initially worried that a lot of upperclassmen would be so experienced with parliamentary procedure and debate that I wouldn’t be able to contribute at all,” he admitted.
“CHSMUNC allowed me to understand how Model United Nations works, which consequently allowed me to develop a sense of leadership, communication, and global citizenship that will continue throughout my high school career and beyond.”
Saf Masood, a junior at Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County, was a returning participant. “I think this conference is a good kick-off to the Model UN year,” he said. “The Centennial staff does a great job putting this out every year, so I commend them.”
When asked about his opinion of the conference, Goolsby praised the delegates’ performance. “They were well put together, very intelligent, and confident,” he reflected. “In fact, the Brazilian speaker commented on several occasions how well the delegates were speaking and said…that these kids are our future. And with them at the helm, I think it is a bright future indeed.”
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