It seems as though it should be a simple question with an obvious answer: When did Model UN at Waynflete begin? It turns out that, like all important matters, the answer, if there is one, is not simple at all. Thank goodness for Master Historian Alice Brock: “Carolyn Mitchell and I took students to Washington, D.C. and New York. After we almost lost a student in Penn Station, we nearly called it quits. (The student shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, but he graduated in 1988.) We managed to take students to the Harvard Model UN conference for several years thereafter, without losing anyone.” Then there appears to have been a multi-year hiatus.
Maine Model UN (MeMUNC) began in 1999, and Waynflete was in the inaugural class, led by the indefatigable Carolyn Mitchell. After her retirement, Ben Mini, brave man, took over, and still runs it today. From 2011 through 2013, led by Juanita Nichols and Debba Curtis, students who were recognized at the Maine Model UN conference were invited to represent Waynflete at the Harvard conference once again, a conference that included 3,000 students from 39 countries.
Each year, students begin researching their countries and positions on assigned issues in March. All students write major position papers setting forth the opinions of their respective governments, and all practiced parliamentary procedure. Then last week, under Ben’s stalwart leadership, 41 students, the largest delegation ever from Waynflete, joined nearly 400 of their peers from 39 other schools from all over Maine. Our students represented 25 different nations or NGOs, as well as having a seat on the International Court and a member of the press corps. Our delegation was unusually young, with 30 of its members in ninth or tenth grade.
Despite the youth of our delegation, of the 41 members, 10 were singled out for special recognition. Honorable Mention went to Michael Michaelson ’16, Isabel Canning ’17, Julianna Harwood ’15, Gemma Laurence ’15, and Delegation Leader Boni Kabongo ‘14. Kat Thomas ’16, Annabelle Carter ’16, Cooper Bramble ’16, and Isabel Floyd ’16 were named Distinguished Delegates, and Jonas Maines ’15 earned the highest award given at MeMUNC, the Diplomacy Award.
Although this was yet another impressive showing by Waynflete students at the MeMUNC, the awards that individuals received are not what matters most to Ben Mini. According to Ben, “The purpose of Model UN is to foster civic, civil engagement and diplomacy. What is exciting to me is not so much that X and Y won awards but that all the 9th graders who didn’t win awards are psyched to go again next year.”
Congratulations to all members of the Waynflete team for their good work, enthusiasm, and accomplishments, and thanks to the 12 different members of the faculty who chaperoned at different times over the 48 hour conference, especially Chris Beaven, Mimi Olins, James Carlisle, and Lydia Maier who supervised the overnight slots! Of course, special thanks are due to Ben Mini for organizing this massive event and creating such a memorable experience for all!
To view a gallery of pictures of the Waynflete delegation in action at the MeMUNC ’14, click here.