(Courtesy of Yeshiva University) In February, over 400 student delegates from 47 yeshiva high schools and community day schools in three countries gathered in Stamford, CT, to participate in the 28th annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations conference (YUNMUN). Simulating the countries and committees from the real United Nations, the student delegates learned about the complexities of international diplomacy while discussing a wide range of issues, including gender roles, human rights and international law.
More than 75 YU undergraduate students were on hand to assist the high school groups from Brazil, Canada and cities across the U.S..
“By hosting YUNMUN year after year, Yeshiva University reinforces our communal responsibility to shape the destiny of our society, a message that is not lost on the event’s participants,” said Rachel Shandalov, YU’s associate director of undergraduate admissions and one of the event’s organizers. “Additionally, the students come away from YUNMUN with a broad knowledge of world affairs, having gained numerous life skills in an academic, intellectual and social forum. In this way, YUNMUN is truly an experience like no other.”
In preparation for the event, students were assigned countries and appointed to one of 15 committees dealing with issues of international concern, including the Commission on the Status of Women, the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the International Criminal Court, the Middle East Summit and the United Nations Human Rights Committee. To argue their points effectively, students conducted extensive research to ensure that their countries’ interests and policies were faithfully represented.
The conference also featured a keynote address by Israeli activist attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center, who educated the student delegates about the use of legal action to fight terrorism and safeguard Jewish rights around the world.
The YUNMUN closing ceremonies included the presentation of awards to the best delegates and honorable mentions on each UN committee as well as remarks from Yeshiva University President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman.