Rivers Model UN Tackles Crises and Diplomacy at CMUNCE conference
Eight delegates from Rivers Model UN, along with faculty advisor Arturo Bagley and faculty member Robin Sallie, traveled to New York City last weekend to attend the CMUNCE conference at Columbia University, which ran from Thursday through Sunday. In addition to spending many hours in committee sessions as part of the conference, participants also visited the Spanish mission to the United Nations and attended symposia featuring panels and interviews with UN personnel on Columbia’s campus, taking full advantage of its proximity to the UN Headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
To set the international landscape that serves as the framework for the conference, each school or delegation is assigned a random assortment of positions on different committees. Rivers delegates ranked their choice of committee or position from the list before they were assigned and served on the following committees, spanning from crisis committees to general assembly and even including a character from The Hunger Games.
Mikayil Mustafayev ’27: John Charles Spencer, House of Commons, 1830 (Specialized GA)
Aly Correia ’25: General Cassius Thorn, The Hunger Games (Crisis)
Bennett Cavallo ’25: Son Won-il, Chief of Naval Operations, South Korea, Korean War (Joint Crisis Committee)
Abby Fireman ’25 and Caleb Lys ’24: Croatia, NATO (Double Delegation)
John Henry Lenzen ’26: Canada, United Nations Development Programme (GA)
Noah Springhorn ’24: Emperor Go-Yōzei, Battle of Sekigahara (Crisis)
Jack Willard ’24: Joseph Stalin, The Semipalatinsk Test Site (Crisis)
New this year was the conference’s first-ever midnight crisis. Delegates assigned to crisis committees had to prepare for the possibility of preparing to respond to a midnight crisis with fellow delegates in an extra committee session. Noah Springhorn ’24, in the role of Emperor Go-Yōzei, Battle of Sekigahara, was called for one such late-night session. Said Springhorn of the experience: “At 11:25 p.m., two people from the conference knocked on our door and instructed me that in five minutes I had to be downstairs with my MUN materials: nametag, placard, and notepads. Five minutes later, I was downstairs in a conference room in the hotel with about half of the other delegates, all wearing pajamas.”
Jack Willard ’24, one of the club’s leaders, served on a crisis committee discussing nuclear testing in the USSR during the Cold War, where delegates were each assigned roles of Soviet government leaders and scientists. Willard won the distinction of being named Best Delegate of his committee for the second year in a row—an award in the form of the gavel used by the committee chair. In addition to the win, said Willard, highlights included “meeting real diplomats during our visit to the office of the Spanish mission to the United Nations, and getting to know my fellow delegates.”
“The Columbia conference is particularly diverse, and I enjoyed connecting with other high school students from Colombia, Slovakia, and Lithuania,” he added.
This is Rivers Model UN’s second conference this academic year. The team attended UCMUN 2023 at the University of Connecticut in November 2023 and will attend EagleMUNC at the Westin Copley Place in March. Rivers Model UN meets every Thursday during club block.