Diplomacy in the age of COVID-19

Norwin’s Model UN club has gone virtual for the second time.


Oliver Hinson

For the second time in their history, Norwin’s Model United Nations has gone virtual. 

    On Dec. 4, 2020, Model UN Club attended a conference hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and presented by Microsoft Teams. The event went off relatively smooth, and most students were not too phased by the virtual setup.

     “The conference was really fun,” said junior Traye Geissler. “I connected with a lot of people and we came to some great conclusions.”

     For others, though, the setup prevented them from participating.

     “I actually was not able to join the conference at all,” said senior Lily Jarosz. “For some reason, my MacBook was not compatible with Microsoft Teams.”

     For Jarosz, this conference was supposed to be a special one, as it is nearing the end of her career at Norwin. For all we know, her last conference could be a tale of disappointment.

     “I was frustrated,” she said. “This is my senior year, and this will most likely be my last Model UN experience.”

     Freshman Drew Brown was also slated to take part in the event, which would have been his first, but unfortunately, he also experienced connection issues.

     “I felt awful,” said Brown. “Knowing that my partner had to battle alone was not good. I’m just lucky that I had a good teammate and she was able to compete well without me.”

     Brown’s partner, junior Elizabeth Mahoney, had a little bit of trouble adjusting to the issue.

     “It was a little bit challenging to participate on my own,” said Mahoney. “I was only prepared to debate one topic in the conference and had trouble completing both topics to the best of my ability.” 

     Adding to the abnormality was the fact that this conference modeled the European Union, as opposed to the United Nations. Pitt’s Model EU event is annual, and it provides students with a chance to narrow their research and go more in-depth. The European Union has more specific goals than the United Nations, so a large percentage of countries are fighting towards the same goals.

     “[The conference] felt much different because of the different way the United Nations and European Union operate,” said junior Max Christopher. “However, the general idea was consistent, so it wasn’t too big of an adjustment.”

     When all was said and done, club adviser Mrs. Sturm was happy with the results of the conference, especially considering that Jarosz and senior Gabriella Conley won the Outstanding Position Paper award for their representation of France.

     “Overall, all of the students did well,” said Sturm. “I am proud of them for continuing on even when it is a challenge to do the conference virtually.”

     As of now, the club has no plans for future conferences, and there’s not much activity going on, but when it’s time for the next event, Norwin will be as ready as ever.