Model United Nations excels at Princeton competition

By Natalie Luna

The Granada Hills Charter Model United Nations (MUN) team recently won their first ever team award from the Princeton MUN Conference. The three day conference was held virtually from February 19-21.

Princeton Model United Nations Conference, also known as PMUNC, is a world-renowned educational experience which brings in over 1,000 delegates yearly. It is one of the top high school Model UN conferences in the country, and it is completely staffed by undergraduates of Princeton University.

Senior Borhan Safaei and junior Hatif Syed, along with senior Ani Hovhannisian and freshman Isabel Hicks, competed as partner delegations. They all put together an outstanding effort to land their team the award for Honorable Delegation. 

The MUN competitors had much to say about the conference at Princeton. They all had favorite moments of the conference, took much time to prepare, and had some struggles as they competed virtually. 

Junior Mahima Shyno, who was in the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee said, “Competing online is a whole different game. It’s the same thing but it is also very different. Such as the things that are really important in person like how loud you can speak, how you conduct yourself during unmods, and etc.” 

Even though competing online was quite different than what she is normally used to, Shyno believes it will make her a better and stronger delegate in the long run. Shyno was recognized at the conference with a Verbal Commendation.  

Lots of preparation is necessary for these conferences in order to score awards such as Verbal Commendations. The team has weekly practices in order to go over their speeches, “solution roasting,” and unmoderated practice. At the end of the day, the MUN team is able to collaborate together in order to become the powerful team they are.

Junior Natalie Shtangrud was in the US Conference of Mayors as a representative of the city of Philadelphia. Her job included addressing COVID-19 and the effects on municipal budgets along with the police budgets and reform. 

“There is always a lot of preparation involved when it comes to MUN. My preparation included a lot of reading about policies, initiatives the city I was representing undertook, and looking through long documents about municipal budgets, but it also involved practicing speaking and giving mods (short speeches on a specific topic),” Shtangrud said.

Shtangrud, along with junior Aysha Iqbal, received Honorable Delegate awards. 

It was junior Chloe Zitsow’s first time at PMUNC, so she thought it would be fitting to try a new committee. She competed in the U.S. Conference of Mayors as a representative of the city of Minneapolis. 

“My favorite moment in committee was a moderated caucus that occurred at the beginning of the second day of the committee. With everyone renewed from a good night’s sleep and some coffee, we started with a debate on the provision of gap funding which was both lively and challenging,” Zitsow said.

 She received the Outstanding Delegate award for her efforts. 

The team felt that the conference was an overall success, as well as a learning experience, especially with so many different events and committees. 

Senior Gregory Demirjian was on the Crisis Committee at PMUNC. 

“Crisis is different from the average MUN committee because, aside from the diplomacy in the front room, crisis has the added element of a backroom, where the less diplomatic, behind-the-scenes action unfolds,” Demirjian said.

Even with the struggles of online competing, Demirjian impressed the chairs with the rapid elevation of his position along with the creativity of his actions.They rewarded Demirjian with the high honor of Best Delegate. 

The GHC MUN team did a wonderful job at PMUNC due to the immense effort and time each member put into preparing for the prestigious conference. Every student on the team is proud to represent Granada. Clearly, their hard work, positive attitude, and resiliency were recognized.