Model UN’s focus on fun is what leads to its success

Cartoon by Brianna Angel

By Lily Angel

The Model United Nations (GMUN) team changes the world one conference at a time. One of the ways they can do this so successfully is that they continue to carry traditions from a pre-pandemic world into a new one. It is important to remember how things were before the pandemic and how things should be now, and the GMUN team knows just how to do that. 

The team has traditions that not only help them bond with each other, but they create a sense of normalcy in the pandemic world.

One of the team’s favorite traditions that they kept alive after quarantine is the post-conference dinner at Denny’s. The entire team goes to Denny’s to debrief on their experience, and have fun. No, matter what your experience was at the conference you will end the day happier than before.

“It’s honestly this really cool environment where everyone is supposed to be extremely tired because we’ve been debating for two days straight, but instead everyone is just so excited about their conference stories that the whole entire diner lights up with this excitement. It’s so refreshing to have an environment where everyone is having fun and letting loose especially after debating heavy topics,” Captain and senior Mahima Shyno Said.

Advisor and English teacher Josh Mandell, loves working with this extraordinary group of students. 

“It’s cliche, but there really isn’t any singular ‘thing’ that is the best about advising MUN. First off, I am just incredibly lucky to be the advisor for MUN. I’ve found, if I may quote from Ted Lasso, that I ‘just enjoy coaching.’ Helping students plan meetings, working with students on their position papers, developing better speeches, and assisting students as they work with middle schoolers; it’s the day-to-day activities and plans that I enjoy the most.  Those small steps lead to larger growth. Also, just the overall support and camaraderie of the team is a joy to witness,” Mandell said.

GMUN hosts an annual competition on our campus called VRMUN. Middle and high schools from all over the San Fernando Valley come together to address global issues as well as to experience the weight of the world on their shoulders as heroes solving these issues.

The first VRMUN was held in February 2020. The team started the competition with hopes of providing a learning space, and a challenge for MUNers in the Valley. The team hosted an outstanding conference. With an amazing staff, the conference created an amazing experience for delegates right before the pandemic sent students online. 

While the MUN team had many successful virtual competitions during quarantine, the team was excited to be back for in-person meetings. 

Recently, for example, the GMUN team successfully competed at University of Southern California United Nations or (SCMUN). GMUN won best large delegation for the first time at USC. The team competed with over 80 members. This is the greatest award a school can receive at a MUN competition. 

“With such a large team, sometimes not everyone knows each other as well; however , I feel like it’s an Avengers movie, with awesome people getting together to support and stand for diplomacy. In essence, it’s the little moments of fun and work that make it all amazing.” Mandell said.

GMUN is not a class or team that is solely focused on winning, it is a team that focuses on having fun.  

With great captains like seniors Nemsie Gonzales, Rohan Goyal, Chloe Zitsow, and Mahima Shyno, VRMUN staff, TK-8 MUN staff, and advisors Daria Beniash, Josh Mandell, and John Teves, the future surely looks bright.

The team will continue to uphold traditions, make new ones, and change the world.