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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Club going up on a MUNday

Palo Alto High School's Model United Nations club poses for a picture at the Inter-Generational MUN conference last September. This was the club's first conference of the year.
Palo Alto High School’s Model United Nations club poses for a picture at the Inter-Generational MUN conference last September. Photo by Eli Craverio Frankel.

With over 100 active clubs at Palo Alto High School, it is hard for one to know what goes on in each and every club. Despite how Paly’s Model United Nations club has been around for years, quite a few Paly students are aware of what the club actually does. The Paly Voice met with senior club President Zofia Ahmad and junior Vice President Eli Craverio Frankel to hear about what goes on in MUN club.

“Paly Model United Nations is a club intended for students to learn about world politics and events, teach members how to debate and write position papers and attend Model United Nations conferences around the Bay,” Frankel said.

At these conferences, each high school is assigned a country and assigned a committee with a specific topic. Then they must research the country and its position on the topic, write the position paper and go to the conferences to debate and propose a solution.

“Once we find our solution we have to work together with the other countries to write and pass a resolution,” Frankel said. “It is a really fun and interesting experience.”

Frankel said that some topics that the club has seen this year were Israel vs Palestine, cyber warfare, maritime piracy, and the Syrian Civil War.

According to Frankel, so far this year, Model UN has attended the Intergenerational Model United Nations Conference in San Francisco, Stanford Model United Nations Conference, Santa Clara Valley Model United Nations Conference at Santa Teresa High School in San José, and Berkeley Model United Nations Conference at UC Berkeley.

“The conferences we attend, especially Berkeley Model UN Conference and Stanford Model UN Conference, are attended by people from all over the world, and as you can imagine, a bunch of really put-together people in suits can be really intimidating,” Ahmad said. “A big part of being successful at conferences is being confident in your solutions and research, even if you’re completely making something up.”

According to Ahmad, in order to give the club the opportunity to get comfortable debating and discussing within parliamentary procedure, the leadership team implemented mock conferences for club members.

“This year I think the biggest change we implemented was hosting mock conferences,” Ahmad said. “We decided to do these so that our members would be more prepared for actual conferences and the style of debating you do there.”

Many members of the club won awards at these conferences for excellent research and in-committee skills, including junior Chris van Gelder (3 times), sophomore Gaby Pelayo, sophomore Joelle Dong, and sophomore Zahra Muzaffar, according to Frankel.

“This year has been an amazing year for the club as we have grown significantly to include more members,” Frankel said. In addition, we have improved how the clubs works and learns thanks to our amazing president Zofia Ahmad, our wonderful secretary sophomore Mary McNamara, our terrific treasurer Alicia Mies, and our two awesome advisors, history teachers Mr. Grant Blackburn and Mr. Christopher Farina.”

Paly MUN meets every Monday in room 813 during lunch.

“We hope to continue improving our club next year and create more amazing MUN experiences,” Frankel said.

Editor’s note: This version of the story correctly states that Model United Nations club has been at Paly for over four years. 

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    Samara TrillingApr 17, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Actually, Paly MUN has been around for longer than four years. I graduated in 2011 and we went to conferences at Stanford, Berkeley and Davis. the club had been around at least since my freshman year, quite possibly way longer- Mr Bungarden might remember when it started, he’s been the adviser for quite some time.