Lauren Hannani culture editor
The Model United Nations (MUN) team brought home several awards this past weekend after participating in UCLA’s annual BruinMUN conference.
Freshmen Maya Mejia and Aasha Sendhil won an Honorable Mention, while freshman Alya Mehrtash and sophomore Michaela Forouzan took home Outstanding. However, for Mejia, the most fulfilling part was not winning the award itself.
“The best part was knowing all of the hard work I had put into the conference had payed off,” Mejia said. “I had spent numerous hours like my classmates trying to be the best delegate and be the most prepared, and seeing the excitement across my classmates’ faces to cheer me on as I walked up the stage just symbolized that.”
For another winner, the award was a complete surprise.
“It felt so surreal because I wasn’t really expecting to win anything,” Sendhil said. “I was really going for the experience, so winning the award was a big plus.”
Vice President Kimia Azad is very proud of all of the members because of the pressure they all faced before and during the conference, partially due to some last-minute preparations.
“BruinMUN is a really hard conference. Everything and everyone is really cutthroat. Due to some logistical difficulties, our school was given only about a week and a half to prepare whereas other schools have been preparing all semester,” Azad said. “But there was never a complaint from any of our members. Everyone was just excited to compete and learn more about their topics. It was so awesome just to see everyone try their best and have fun.”
Although some students believe they could have executed their impromptu speeches better during the conference, they were happy to learn about many current issues in the world, from international involvement in Syria to the protection of the rights of journalists.
“I think we could have been stronger in the speaking category in terms of really outlining our policy, but at the end of the day, I was proud of our team due to the fact that one, we got some good experience, and two, we had fun and learned a lot about issues plaguing our world today,” sophomore Mason Ware said.
Although this was his sixth MUN conference, Ware considers this weekend’s BruinMUN event one of his most difficult experiences.
“It was more difficult for me, especially as I was placed in the largest committee of the tournament, with almost 120 people,” Ware said. “And the topics were not particularly favorable.”
Students also competed against hundreds of other high schools while being judged by expert chairs observing each committee’s performance.“Having crisis committees and experienced chairs definitely makes this conference harder than others, not to mention the fact that there are 1,500 competitors,” Azad said.
However, even with the conference’s high expectations and nerve-wracking features, the MUN group is thankful for the opportunity to learn more about and debate world issues at UCLA.
“It’s not every day you get to debate international issues at one of the best universities in the U.S.,” Ware said. “It really helps some elevate their game.”