Model UN Team Debates China-American Relations at Catholic Memorial Conference


Nathalie Falcao '17, Contributing Writer

Multiple assassinations, barely-avoided nuclear war, and Donald Trump as president? You may ask yourself, is this real life? Or is this fantasy? But in truth, it is a typical day at a Model United Nations (MUN) conference. The most recent MUN conference was held at Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury and the delegates from Montrose were Caroline Churney ’19, Mackenzie Mattson ’19, Maddie Marcucci ’19, and myself, Nathalie Rodrigues Vaz Falcao ’17. All four partook in a committee known as a triple-crisis committee where three committees were intertwined. Every update, treaty, resolution, nuclear attack done by one committee affected the other two committees.

The common topic amongst the Montrose-attended committees was Chinese and American relations in 2023 and the prevention of war. With updates every five minutes, delegates had to think quickly on their feet to avoid war and to protect their respective Chinese or American citizens. Presidents were assassinated and replaced, and nuclear weapon peace treaties were passed – then immediately broken. While this was the 9th  graders’ first conference, they handled the day very well, providing the moderated caucuses (a short discussion with speaker time limits and a specific topic such as nuclear pacts) with intelligent and well-delivered points. Churney ’19 said she expected a “lengthy debate about government policy” but was pleasantly met with “a story, with new crises entering the plot continuously.” A highlight of her experience was the creation of a Star Wars defense system to protect from nuclear bombs and catching a spy within her own committee. Marcucci ’19 also enjoyed that the conference allowed for a “no judgment zone,” full of laughs and great ideas.

This was my second conference, so I went in a bit more experienced than the others but left with equal amounts of satisfaction. Completely to my surprise, I was humbled to receive recognition as Honorary Mention Best Delegate. This conference format was different from others because I had to take on the role of a Chinese war leader instead of a country. It was very interesting because I had to make decisions, acting as someone else; this role-play required me  to separate my own opinions from my character’s positions. Everyone agreed that it was difficult, initially; but, as usual, we were assimilated fully into our committees within about 30 minutes.

The best part of Model UN is the experience. It takes a short amount of time to understand what’s happening in a committee, even if it’s your first conference. The issues are either creatively challenging or presently occurring in the world today. Having to research other countries to gain a perspective on the issue at hand opens your mind to broader perspectives. The Model UN format focuses on collaboration to stop wars with words, not weapons. An organization accessible to teenagers and dedicated to raising a generation of diplomats with an international perspective is an incredible opportunity for all Montrosians.