Donald Trump may be criticizing the UN headquarters in New York City, but here at Mt. Greylock, the Model UN club is thriving. The club was brought back to Mt. Greylock last spring, with Williams college senior Darla Torres and sophomore Audrey Lee leading the initiative. Its success has been obvious so far, with the club attending its first conference on November 18th at Clark University. Student who participated in this competition include Oscar Low, Victoria Melkonyan, Adam Pomerantz, Avery Powers, and Olivia Winters.
Leading up to the competition, Melkonyan, who portrayed Gennady Melikyan in the Russian 1992 Council of Ministers, reported that meetings took place every Sunday at Williams college, and “[Darla and Audrey] would coach us and tell us what to do as we are all relatively new.” Despite the weekly meetings, many of the research necessary for the conference was done at home. Melkonyan stated that while the research was substantial, it was interesting and informative to put herself in the shoes of a person in power in a time of crisis. And her research obviously payed off, as she way the only member of the Greylock team to bring home an award, earning an honorable mention.
Members of the club were given their topic before the conference so they could do research. After opening ceremonies, groups (made up of students from different schools) had from seven hours to 3 days, depending on the conference, to solve the problem that was given to them. These problems and disputes are real events, most of which have happened in the past. The students’ goal was to work together peacefully and create solutions to the dilemma. After the time was up, an award ceremony took place, and individuals could win medals or honors for their team.
After the opening ceremonies, Greylock team members split off into their respective committees. Committees included the World Health Organization, the French Constituent Assembly, 1945, and the Russian 1992 Council of Ministers, of which Melkonyan was a member. Over the seven hours they had together, with a short break for lunch, teams worked to find solutions to their problem. Different members formed alliances or enemies within their committee. Melkonyan, portraying Gennady Melikyan, and her committee were trying to solve the crisis in Russia after the Soviet Union had collapsed. Some solutions included using military action to stop insurgency and taking money from the health delegation of Russia to fix the food crisis. When asked to comment on her fellow delegates, Melkonyan said that the chairs of each committee were “very kind and welcoming, and there were no power players. Each student strived to work together and find a solution.”
Greylock Model UN’s first conference turned out to be a success, and they hope to enter more as they continue to learn and grow.