February 28, 2012
Radnor High School Model United Nations Club Visits Egyptian Embassy During 49th Annual North American Invitational Model United Nations Conference
By Daniel Michelson, a RHS Junior
Students in Radnor High School’s Model United Nations club (known as RADMUN) joined nearly 3,000 peers from around the globe to debate solutions to world issues like cybersecurity, media freedom and nuclear non-proliferation at the 49th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN) Conference held in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 16-19. Most of the students represented Cambodia and Egypt in the debates.
The representation of Egypt granted the club an experience of a lifetime: a visit to the Egyptian embassy and a meeting with two Egyptian diplomats. The experience was especially poignant considering the dynamic state of the country following the 2011 revolution and the subsequent removal of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak from power. After a short introduction, the club engaged in an hour-long question-and-answer session with the diplomats, sharing a dialogue about the new government, relations with Israel, and other Egyptian affairs.
"One of the diplomats had served as Suzanne Mubarak's personal secretary and had developed a close personal relationship with the family,” said club faculty advisor Rick Dunbar. “It was extraordinary to hear her perspective about the revolution."
“The presentation made by the Egyptian embassy was extremely interesting,” said James Lofton, a RHS sophomore and first-year RADMUN member. “It offered great insight into a country in the midst of a revolution.”
The club put on a strong showing during the conference. Juniors Shaiba Rather and Chris Blazey won Outstanding Delegate awards; seniors Shaan Patni and Jamie Gorson and juniors Daniel Michelson and Griffin Unger won Honorable Mentions; and senior Drew Calamaro and junior Chris Merken received Verbal Commendations.
“The NAIMUN conference brings together international relations, problem solving, and joy – all things that RADMUN represents,” said club president Shaan Patni. “We had terrific team spirit and the conference served as reminder of the brilliant reputation all Radnor students carry, wherever we go.”
RADMUN members sat on a variety of committees, ranging from the traditional General Assemblies like the Social and Humanitarian Council, to unique “special” committees like the U.S. Central Command. RHS faculty advisors Dunbar and Kenneth Sklar joined the club on the trip.
While club members worked hard the entire conference, debating for the roughly 17 hours worth of committee, they also had fun. On Friday night, Hilltop Madness, a performance put on by Georgetown University performing arts groups, showcased many different styles of dance including Irish stepdance, Indian bhangra, and Moroccan ballet. On Saturday night, the club bonded over Greek food at a team dinner, and the delegate dance provided RADMUN members a chance to show off their talents. Club members also used out-of-committee time to explore the Dupont Circle downtown area and take advantage of many excellent restaurants.
The club has attended three conferences this year—Princeton, Yale, and now, NAIMUN—and will finish the year by attending the National High School Model United Nations in New York in March.
Pictured above: back row, from left to right: Suhaas Reddy, Christopher Merken, James Lofton, and Christopher Blazey; middle row, from left to right: Rehab (Egyptian diplomat), Mahmoud (Egyptian diplomat), Mike Stavrakos, Rick Dunbar (club advisor), Matt Levitan, Chad Booker, Shaan Pattni, Drew Calamaro, Claire Song, Griffin Unger, Daniel Michelson, Brady Clapp, Lindsay Korzekwa, Evie Cai, Stephen Rhode, Hannah North, James Carino, and Ken Sklar (club advisor); front row, from left to right: Kelsey Movsowitz, Julia Bryck, Shaiba Rather, Ashley Gubernick,Shannon Neeson, Bridget Slattery, and Becky Maz.