Brewster’s Model UN Hosts Their Third Annual Conference

Above, the Yugoslavia crisis staff (Andrew DiFabbio, Bella DiDio, and Ben Pollak) work on crisis updates for the Collapse of Yugoslavia.

Diana Vink, Contributing Writer

On November 3, Brewster’s Model United Nations held their third annual local conference: BrewMUNC. The success of BrewMUNC this year was unprecedented. BrewMUNC 2019 consisted of 5 committees and spanned a variety of historical and modern day topics. The conference was attended by about 160 delegates from schools in the surrounding area, including Scarsdale, Horace Greeley, Kent, and others. With so many delegates attending, the conference required months of planning from dedicated club members and officers.

Delegates officially began the day with opening ceremonies. This year, the Model UN was honored to welcome Christopher Knapp as their guest speaker. Knapp has extensive experience working with the federal government and surrounding branches, notably holding a position at the Department of Defense. Knapp gave an engaging and insightful talk on how his experience in Model UN in high school helped him in his career. He specifically emphasized diplomacy, and the ability to set personal opinions aside while representing another position, ideas that played heavily into the debates that ensued throughout the conference.

Once the committee sessions began, delegates were presented with relevant and pressing topics to discuss, such as the Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) committee. This general assembly committee focused on the ongoing crisis in Somalia: the droughts, the terrorist activity, and the humanitarian crisis. Delegates, representing countries in the United Nations, needed to find common ground and agree upon the best ways to help Somalia. Alli Lynch, a first time delegate from Brewster, found discussing the crisis in Somalia really interesting. “BrewMUNC was an amazing first conference for me,” she says. “I was never bored during committee and I can definitely say I’m already excited for next year.”

Similarly, the Collapse of Yugoslavia committee required delegates to find consensus through debate over the intense ethnic divisions as countries began to break away from Yugoslavia in 1991. In contrast to DISEC, however, this committee was specialized, meaning that delegates were asked to respond to situations as they occurred, rather than address one ongoing set of circumstances.

The three crisis committees at BrewMUNC regularly forced delegates to think on their feet and find creative solutions to fast-paced crisis updates, all while secretly working to achieve their own personal agendas. For instance, the Meeting of the Mumbai Gangs committee focused on gang dynamics in India in 1992. It called for gangs to use their power to sway ongoing social issues, like the India-Pakistan tensions, while also gunning for the position of the Don of Mumbai, the most powerful gang leader in the city. Another committee, the Mongols in the Kievan Rus, saw delegates working to ensure the safety of Russia from the Mongols, while also attempting to solve the issues relevant to their specific positions as Russian leaders. Finally, the Third Coalition of Napoleon committee saw delegates working to slow the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 1800s while attempting to guarantee the loyalty of their country and government. Henry Bloss, the head of crisis for this committee, loved creating situations for delegates to deal with. “BrewMUNC was great!” he remarked. “I ran the crisis for the committee trying to topple Napoleon during the height of his power. While they tried their best to end Napoleon’s regime, their disunity ultimately was their undoing and Napoleon reigned triumphant. It was a fun time all around.”

Brewster students who attended the conference as delegates had a great experience, some even winning awards. Jasmine Cabral and Dylan DiDona won Honorable Mentions for their representations of Yakub Memom on the Meeting of the Mumbai Gangs and Ratko Mladic on the Collapse of Yugoslavia, respectively. Danny Jafa received an award for Best Position Paper on the Mongols in the Kievan Rus committee.

Not only did Brewster students serve as delegates, but Model UN members also staffed the conference. Staffers served as either chairs or crisis, chairs being responsible for moderating debate and crisis being responsible for creating new and exciting challenges for delegates on each committee to tackle. “It was definitely an interesting opportunity that I never thought I’d experience, but I’m so glad I did!” said Bella DiDio, a crisis staffer for the Collapse of Yugoslavia. “I never thought I’d have to approve four mass genocides in Yugoslavia or redefine the borders of Croatia, but doing so was so much fun, especially getting creative alongside a team of fun and passionate crisis staffers.”

The Model UN also took on a larger cause at this conference, raising money for Refugees International, an organization dedicated to providing support for refugees and solving displacement issues worldwide. The Model UN promoted this cause by allowing whichever committee raised the most money per person to pie their chair in the face. This honor went to Riley Krisch, vice chair of the DISEC committee. Over 300 dollars were raised for Refugees International, an amount that will surely help countless people through the organization.

Overall, after months of planning, BrewMUNC was a resounding success for the Model UN. Supriya Sharma, this year’s Secretary-General, couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results. “BrewMUNC was so great this year. I’m really proud of the Model UN for pulling it together, and it was amazing to see our hard work pay off,” Supriya gushed. “I feel honored to be able to work with such a dedicated group of people, especially Kennedy and Anthony [the Model UN’s Directors of Conferences]. It went better than I ever could have expected.”

The Model UN would also like to thank their teacher advisor, Mr. Mullane, and the incredible Mrs. Chalmers for the countless hours they’ve poured into making BrewMUNC a success. “It was a great pleasure to witness such a great turnout at out conference,” says Anthony Ayala, one of the Directors of Conferences. “But the credit goes to the entirety of the club and our excellent advisor Mr. Mullane. Also, a massive thanks to the custodial staff for helping out with all the mess we caused.” It took a lot of hard work, time, and dedication, but BrewMUNC was truly an event to be remembered.