A Weekend of Crisis … For Fun

Model UN participates in the Crisis at CMU

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A Weekend of Crisis … For Fun

photo by Somya Thakur

photo by Somya Thakur

photo by Somya Thakur

Somya Thakur, Social Media Director

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Winning a war, corruption, betrayal — it was all in a weekend’s work for Model UN.

Two weekends ago, students from North Allegheny’s Model UN Club participated in the annual Crisis at Carnegie Mellon. Unlike other Model UN conferences, this particular event consisted only of crisis committees and joint-crisis committees — a vast difference from what some members of North Allegheny’s MUN club may be accustomed to.  And the atmosphere was intense.

“Delegates know that everyone else in the room is scheming to end up on top and aggregate power and influence, so it ends up becoming incredibly Machiavellian,” said Roshie Xing, director of NA Model UN.

General Assemblies consist of especially formal parliamentary procedures — there is no crisis team to write notes to. In crisis committees, participants are able to write notes to a team of people that may or may not go through with the proposed plans. For example, if one wanted insider information or wanted to stage an uprising, they could write to crisis and explain to them what they wanted to do and the team would either set up the story arc around the idea or tell them that it’s too far out of reach. Crisis committee strives to bring out the creativity in a student and how they are able to gain the most power in their committee or in terms of joint crisis how their side can win.

It’s such a cool bonding experience for our team and the evening after a long day of voting is best spent enjoying the last moments with friendships that we’ve established over the course of our high school career.”

— Jaime Martinez, junior

“Crisis conferences foster many of the skills that young people aren’t really taught,” Xing said. “The potential for crisis updates as well as the intermediary crisis staff, who can reject or even change delegates’ plans, adds an element of uncertainty to conferences that requires the ability to think on your feet and be prepared for really anything.” 

This year North Allegheny participated in the Greek Pantheon, The Sejm, The Atomic Catastrophe, and the Kurukshetra Wars. 

“It could be a murder, a kidnapping, or a war, but you’ll have to react quickly and solve these problems,” Xing said. “Delaying too long could result in even more situations erupting. Because there’s oftentimes so little information (characters are created by staff or obscure) on the scenarios and/or roles we’re given, that gives delegates the freedom to be imaginative and come up with all sorts of intricate, fantastical plots.”

Jaime Martinez was a part of the Atomic Catastrophe committee, in which he played an MIT graduate who had been leading a new project on migration tracking.

“It’s a great activity that brings people with interests in international relations and diplomacy together to ‘work for the common good’ and solves the worlds issues,” said Martinez, who won first place in his committee.

Xing, who was Hera in the Greek Pantheon committee, said that at the end of the day, “CMU develops other ‘soft’ skills like the ability to negotiate, compromise and convince others that your plan is the best, speechmaking capabilities, and the ability to effectively research and build a background where there may be none.”

Although the conference itself was entertaining and challenging, Martinez felt that most memorable part was the experience of team-building.

“The best part about the conference was not the committee but after hours when I went to eat with friends,” he said. “It’s such a cool bonding experience for our team and the evening after a long day of voting is best spent enjoying the last moments with friendships that we’ve established over the course of our high school career.”