Menlo Students Attend Virtual Model UN Conference


Ayla Seddighnezhad

Delegates from several schools formed a committee that discussed and debated world issues during the second session of the virtual conference. Photo courtesy of Ayla Seddighnezhad.

Sophia Artandi, Print Editor

The Torrey and Triton Virtual Model UN conference took place on Saturday, April 25, with freshman Alexa Friesel and sophomores Parina Patel and Ayla Seddighnezhad attending. The virtual conference was conducted on Zoom from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., including three general assembly committees and four specialized body committees. Friesel was a part of the Security Council (UNSC), and Patel and Seddighnezhad were a part of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The length of the virtual conference differed from a typical Model UN conference, which spans over three days. Because it only lasted a day, the session times were much shorter, leaving less time to debate. 

Nonetheless, the virtual conference was set up to imitate a typical Model UN conference. Opening and closing ceremonies were still held as well as three sessions to debate and come to resolutions, following the typical Model UN format. Delegates were strongly encouraged to wear Western Business Attire, the formal type of clothing worn at all Model UN conferences and business-related events.

With such a small committee, which is the group of people discussing each topic, it was easier to understand each delegation’s stance on the topic. The communication between the delegations was much more rapid due to the “chat” feature on Zoom. Normally, delegates would have to remember where each delegation was sitting and send a paper note in their direction; however, at the virtual conference, delegates can quickly send a private chat to whomever they want, making communication and resolution writing more efficient.

Seddighnezhad represented the delegation of the United Kingdom in the WTO. This was not only her first virtual conference but also her first exposure to a Model UN conference.

Seddighnezhad was surprised to see that there were only 14 other delegations in her committee because she was expecting a bigger committee of around 50 delegations. The environment seemed intimate despite interacting online. “There was a lot more debate than I was expecting, mainly because of how easily you were able to learn about each delegate,” Seddighnezhad said.