Q: Who were all those middle schoolers on campus this weekend? What is WMIDMUN?
A:You may have been wondering why all those middle schoolers were here this weekend, and the answer is simple: Model United Nations. Model United Nations is a committee-based simulation where participants visit and assume roles in their respective committees. The College of William and Mary’s Middle School Model United Nations Conference, more commonly known as WMIDMUN, was hosted this past weekend Feb. 22-24 from Friday to Sunday.
Every year, the middle schoolers participate in three different categories of committees. First, there are general assemblies. These are the largest committees, usually having over a hundred delegates, and they simulate some of the more realistic United Nations Committees.
Examples include the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee. These are largely based around formal debate and positions in these committees are generally country-based (member nations of the UN). Second, there are the Regional Assemblies and Specialized Agencies. These are usually smaller committees, 20 to 50 delegates, and are more geared to specific organizations that are not all necessarily associated with the United Nations. Some examples of these include the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Women committee. The positions in these committees are largely country-based. Lastly, we have the crisis committees. These are generally much more random as far as topics go, and have anywhere from 12 to 20 delegates in committee. Topics could be fictional or real, and could simulate the past, present, or future. Examples of committees we had at WMIDMUN were the Mount Olympus Council, where delegates played as Greek gods, the Siege of Yorktown, where delegates played as persons at the Battle of Yorktown and the Soviet Security Council of 1979, where delegates played as members of a Soviet Council.
WMIDMUN specifically is an educational conference run by the International Relations Club at the College. We do not give out awards to emphasize the educational aspect of the conference. WMIDMUN draws in nearly 1,000 middle schoolers from all along the East Coast. This year, we had roughly 850 middle school delegates come to WMIDMUN, accompanied by nearly 90 sponsors and chaperones.
We were lucky enough to have 120 amazing students at the College staffing the conference, ensuring that the middle schoolers were safe and looked after. Their roles ranged anywhere from media staff taking photos to moderators facilitating debate in each committee. Of these 120 staffers, we had 30 directors. These directors did the research for committees, wrote the background guides and took on major responsibilities the weekend of the conference from ensuring dismissal goes smoothly to monitoring committees. Lastly, we have the secretariat, a team of 10 members of IRC that are responsible for organizing the conference. From creating the committees, organizing logistics with local hotels and bus companies to running staff training, these 10 individuals are responsible for ensuring that the conference runs smoothly and that delegates have a safe and fun weekend!
The conference happens in buildings all across campus, academic and non-academic buildings alike. Thanks to the incredible people at facilities at the College, we were able to create a clean and safe environment for the delegates to learn. It goes without saying that without them, this conference would not happen. The list of people to thank could go on, but either way we are grateful for everyone who helps out with the conference, and for the campus community for being so welcoming to our little guests!
Andrew Caietti served as the Under Secretary-General for Crisis Committes at this year’s WMIDMUN conference.
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