The Charger Blog

Model United Nations Students Reflect on 'Amazing Opportunity to Experience D.C.'

Several Chargers recently returned from Washington, D.C., where they attended a National Model United Nations conference. They applied what they’ve learned as members of the University’s MUN program, skills they say they will continue to draw on throughout their academic and professional careers.

December 8, 2022

By Cameron Carre ’23, Bianca Plachi, and Esma Fera ’24

Chris Haynes and students
Chris Haynes, Ph.D. (eighth from left) attended the conference with students.

As part of the Univeristy of New Haven’s award-winning Model United Nations program, a group of students recently attended a National Model United Nations conference in Washington, D.C. (NMUN•DC), where they applied what they’ve been learning in the program. The students excelled at the conference, where they also had the opportunity to network.

Directed by Chris Haynes, Ph.D., a political science, international affairs, and national security professor, the program has been generously supported by Phil Bartels ’11 Hon. and Susan Bartels, two of the University’s most generous benefactors.

Below, three students reflect on their experience at NMUN•DC and discuss what they learned.

Cameron Carre '23
Cameron Carre ’23
Cameron Carre ’23 (center) at the conference.

This semester, I took the Model United Nations (MUN) course in preparation for the National MUN conference held in Washington D.C. this fall. In MUN, you represent a specific country and write a position paper that aligns with its interests. Throughout the semester, we are taught about the United Nations, how to think in a goal-oriented way, and how to be confident, assertive, a first-mover, and many other vital concepts crucial to success at a conference.

The course was so beneficial for preparating for the actual conference. My delegation won two awards in our committee. But most importantly, the tools, ideas, and confidence one attains from MUN far exceed the awards and fantastic experience of the conference. To put it bluntly, the tools and growth I learned from this course will most certainly help me in my professional career and have already impacted me as an individual.

The amount of change I have undergone this semester outweighs any other experiences. I have become that leader I never knew I could be, and I acquired the ability to problem-solve and adapt on the spot.

I thank Professor Haynes and Philip and Susan Bartels for making this experience possible. Without them, I would not have experienced such profound growth and figured out my calling.

Bianca Plachi '25
Bianca Plachi ’25
Bianca Plachi ’25 (left) at NMUN•DC.

Before this semester, the only experience I had with Model UN was a short five-day academy over the summer. I knew how accomplished the University of New Haven’s MUN program was, but coming into the semester, I did not anticipate the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into prepping for the national conference in Washington, D.C. Over the course of a few months, we worked with our partners on our position papers and held simulations ahead of the conference.

On the morning of conference, I was definitely nervous. However, soon after it started, I realized just how prepared I was. I thought back to what we had gone over in class. I went back to the assertiveness, inclusivity, and diplomacy we practiced in the simulations. I felt confident in my ability to lead, and by the last day my group had successfully submitted a draft resolution.

Additionally, my partner and I received a Position Paper Award in our committee. Participating in MUN honed all of my skills from communication to writing, and I intend on using these skills in the future in all aspects of life.

I would like to thank Professor Haynes for all the work he’s put into this program; we would not have received the Outstanding Delegation Award without it. I would also like to thank Phil and Susan Bartels for giving my classmates and me the amazing opportunity to experience D.C., as well as the opportunity to experience my very first MUN conference.

Esma Fera '24
Esma Fera ’24
Esma Fera ’24 (rifght) in Washington, D.C.

Before I took the Model UN class, I had the impression that insightful ideas came to people at different moments and somehow just flowed perfectly into the place. However, through Model UN, I've grown to understand how important interpersonal communication skills are to all careers to clearly articulate your ideas and thoughts with confidence.

Attending the Model UN DC conference helped me realize the importance of fostering creativity, learning about different global issues, forming new collaborations, creating new solutions and techniques that could help solve global problems, and creating personal connections with people from around the world.

Additionally, I saw how impactful it is to have the chance to work with different powerful minds and people who share very diverse backgrounds, yet are able to adapt to different leadership styles and cultural approaches and work toward potential solutions.

When it comes to personal growth, I can definitely highlight the importance of learning how to take risks by taking initiative first, appearing as a young, powerful prepared leader, as well as positively approaching the people you are working on your committee in order to finish a given task.

Gaining all these skills by the end of the MUN conference made me realize that our mindsets, the ways we approach people in everyday life, and how we present ourselves are the keys to profound success.

Cameron Carre ’23 is a political science major at the University of New Haven. Bianca Plachi ’25 is majoring in international affairs. Esma Fera ’24 is a biology major.