Model UN succeeds at the Berkeley Conference

BHS’s Model United Nations Club attended the annual Berkeley Model United Nations (BMUN) conference from March 3 through 5. The conference attracts over 1,600 high school students from all over the world is held at the UC Berkeley campus. The BMUN challenges students to debate pressing international issues from the perspective of an assigned country and hopes to encourage further discussion of international problems among young people.

To prepare for the conference, students were tasked with becoming experts on their countries’ perspectives on certain issues. Possible issues included Palestinian women’s rights and sustainable vaccine practices and financing. After extensive research, students had to submit a five to ten page position paper outlining their countries’ views to demonstrate their mastery of the subject and provide possible resolutions to the problem at hand. Students also must know which other countries they need to work with prior to coming to the conference.

Sophomore Grant Cosovich attended the conference for the first time and, along with his partner junior Priya Koliwad, represented  Malawi. As part of the Disarmament and Security Committee, Cosovich and Koliwad addressed privatization of war and natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“With it being my first conference, the hardest part of BMUN was adjusting to how a conference works and getting myself to stay confident in the research I did,” Cosovich said.

Cosovich, who was introduced to Model UN at the urging of his sister, senior Caroline Cosovich, enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside students from a myriad of backgrounds and places.

Caroline Cosovich, who has been involved in the BHS Model UN club since the summer following her freshman year and is currently the club’s vice president, served on the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and attended the conference as part of a double delegation with senior Larissa Qian. Cosovich and Qian represented South Korea and covered the issues of the rights of child soldiers and the UN’s educational agenda.

Caroline highlighted several challenges with her topics, especially concerning the UN’s educational agenda. Both she and Qian had to constantly keep in mind ideas like “what do we have to watch out for and how do we avoid impeding on other countries’ sovereignty… while still making a resolution that would function and improve education for people around the world. And how do we avoid impeding on other countries’ religious stances as well because some religions hold that certain people should not get educated or should not get such equity with the other gender.”

Senior Hanna Rashidi agreed, adding that “we also need to be very careful in the phrasing of our legislation and how vague our ideas are, because there's no use in writing a law if no one is sure how to apply it.” She acted as Bob Casey Jr., the democratic senator for Pennsylvania in the conference.

During the actual conference, BHS students were at a disadvantage. Many other schools have classes specifically dedicated to Model UN preparations while students at BHS only have Model UN as an extracurricular activity and therefore have to prepare in their free time.

Despite this disadvantage, the event was overall successful for the BHS team. Caroline Cosovich and Larissa Qian took home an award for “Outstanding Delegation” and Grant Cosovich and Priya Koliwad received honorable mentions for the same award.

Posted on March 20, 2017 .