This article originally appeared on Fordham’s the paper’s website. It can be found here.
This past weekend, Fordham University held its first Model United Nations Conference, otherwise known as FORMUNC, at our Lincoln Center campus. Three high schools from the tri-state area came to discuss world issues like the Zika Virus, global security, and maternal health in order to formulate socially innovative solutions. Fordham students staffed the conference, something that is pretty unique to the world of Model UN. Most conferences aren’t staffed by college kids, which is another reason why FORMUNC I was so different and successful. Both the high school delegates and FORMUNC I’s staff, learned and grew from their experiences at Lincoln Center.
Inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN, FORMUNC encouraged its delegates to get creative with their responses to different global problems. FORMUNC’s staff had to get a bit creative too when it came to planning and holding the conference itself. The Secretariat, headed by Secretary General, Domenico Pietromonaco (GSB ‘19), and Director General, Lala Kumakura (FCRH ‘19), faced roadblocks when it came to getting support from Fordham to push FORMUNC off the ground. The Secretariat depended on the guidance of its changemaker, Carey Weiss, Director of Sustainability Initiatives, to really get the ball rolling.
Under Secretary General of Crisis, Kacie Candela (FCRH ‘19), and her crisis team created scenarios that ranged from a missing scientist with the Zika vaccine to Raul Castro just bein’ Raul Castro to some rogue Fortune 500 CEOs with off-shore accounts in the Cayman Islands. The crisis team also dealt with a rowdy bunch of high school delegates, but thankfully, FORMUNC I’s chairs were well-prepared and even a bit excited to deal with all of the chaos. By the end of the weekend, everyone could agree that the crisis committees really came up with some unique solutions to some of the biggest world problems.
In the General Assembly committees, led by Under Secretary General of the General Assembly, Rosalyn Kutsch (FCRH ‘19), Chairs and Assistant Chairs focused on maternal health and the rights of women. Both committees met separately on the first day of the conference, but once Chairs realized delegates never received the background guide for what was supposed to be the second topic: water; everyone had to get a little inventive. The final day of the conference culminated with both GA committees meeting together to discuss women’s rights and problems in a “Women’s Summit.” Delegates thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to swap ideas.
The conference was super successful despite all of the little issues presented to the staff this past weekend. Delegates loved having the opportunity to work with other students from the local area as well as having a lot of personalized feedback. Since this was FORMUNC’s first run, there were only about 45 delegates in attendance. This allowed for the students to get personalized feedback from their respective chairs and to really have more of an opportunity to talk in committee. At a lot of other Model UN conferences, there are hundreds of delegates in committee which makes it difficult for everyone to get a word in. FORMUNC I really encouraged everyone to speak up and make their voices heard.
Overall, FORMUNC I was successful despite all of the obstacles the Secretariat and staff faced. None of it would have been possible without the work of Director of Operations, Claire Nunez (FCRH ‘19), and Director of Business, Brendan Batcheller (GSB ‘19). Their team was the one that really made sure everything ran smoothly. The conference wouldn’t have worked as well without them.
The staff and delegates were overly excited about FORMUNC and many are excited to return next year to work under Secretary General, Christian Hoban (FCRH ‘19). FORMUNC I’s success can really be attributed to its staff and the Secretariat would like to thank them all, so congrats! You did it!
If you would like to work on FORMUNC II, email firstname.lastname@example.org.