Portola’s MUN Club Enters their first MUN Conference after COVID-19

Tustin High School juniors and seniors who have prior Model United Nations experience judge the delegates based on the quality of their position paper, debate and overall participation.
(Courtesy of Katie Wi)

Model United Nations won seven awards, from research to commendation (six novice and one advanced), at the 29th annual Tustin High MUN Conference on Nov. 20-21. Model United Nations participated in its first conference on Nov. 20-21 at Tustin High and this was the most delegates we’ve ever sent to a conference.

Junior Anishka Durvasula won the commendation award, sophomore Katie Lee won the outstanding delegate and research award, sophomore Tyler Kim won the commendation award, sophomore Injila Adil won the commendation award, sophomore Shriya Janolkar won the commendation award and freshman Ruhi Sumadura won the commendation award. 

“At the beginning of the day, I definitely felt very nervous,” Manivannan said. “In the end, I felt more reassured and happy because I made a lot of new friends.”

Before the conference, delegates chose their country’s topic and researched the chosen topic. Each delegate had a different topic and country than other delegates. The research helped them create a position paper that focused on their country’s stance in the United Nations and non-governmental organization, political aspects and policies.

First, delegates start with an open debate and then move to an unmoderated caucus where they create informal blocs, groups where people work on ideas, to find countries with common ground on topics, like accessible education or digitization in Africa, with the goal of finding a resolution at the end.

“I want to major in international relations,” Durvasula said. “I hope to one day be able to work in the State Department. So being in MUN helps to give me a firsthand look into that because it’s about diplomacy between different countries, which is something I’m interested in.”

Even though the club does not have an official MUN coach, the board worked diligently to prepare for this conference through online Zoom meetings after school and during office hours, according to vice president and junior Rhea Sheth. They specifically created lesson plans on Google Classroom to help facilitate and prepare for the conference, especially for the new batch of people who joined the club this year.

“I think the conference was really fun,” Sheth said. “I loved seeing all the Portola delegates do so well and get excited about attending their first conference. I was really proud of everyone and I myself also had a lot of fun at the conference. Our club hopes to attend more conferences next semester.”