BASIS Independent Mclean’s First Ever Model UN Conference


Over November 12th and 13th, the Model UN club at BASIS Independent Mclean hosted our first ever conference (called BIMMUN I). The Secretariat of the Model UN club, including Benjamin W. (‘23), Sophie P. (‘22), Mohan L. (‘22), Melis O. (‘24), and Mohan P. (‘26), began preparations in June. Over the course of the summer and beginning of the school year we overcame multiple hurdles regarding technical aspects of the conference. 


The initial inspiration for this conference stemmed out of a long-standing club goal. The club’s student founder, Kareem B. (20), established the club with high ambitions in the year of its founding, in 2016. As a result, many of the club’s current experienced members were inspired by the determination and excitement with which Model UN was introduced. Benjamin W. (‘23), the conference’s co-Director explained, “BIMMUN I, our club’s first conference, was designed to provide middle school students with an opportunity to practice skills in a low-pressure environment. Ever since the club was founded in 2016, we wanted to host a conference. We were finally able to achieve that goal this year.” 


Due to COVID most Model UN activities, conferences, and clubs were transferred to an online format, which caused a shift in the preparations and content presented. Over the course of the 2020-2021 school year the Secretariat began to look at the organization of other virtual Model UN Conferences and saw that hosting a conference began to look like a possible initiative/goal. The Secretariat then set forth planning the contents and logistics. 


Over the summer the Secretariat began the process of organizing the conference by selecting committee chairs and brainstorming a list of all the components that we believed would be necessary. The chairs selected were Rithik P. (‘23), Charlie R. (‘23), Mohan P. (‘26), Cavan G. (‘23), Anjali J. (‘23), and Maria L. (‘23). Melis O. (‘24) was given the role of Conference Director for BIMMUN, and Benjamin W. (‘23) was given the role of Conference Co-Director. Quickly we found the creative aspects, such as topics to discuss and delegate positions, to be amusing while the technical aspects, such as setting up email accounts, creating a website, and getting permission from our school’s directors, to be more tedious. However, regardless of our lack of technological understanding we used our Gen-Z digital skills to avert multiple crises. 


On Saturday, November 13th, the Secretariat and chairs were eager to start the committee and witness the debate and collaboration that the delegates would bring. All throughout Saturday the excitement and interest of the delegates was obvious as they debated issues such as food aid to North Korea, and Japan and Canada invading the United States. The Secretariat of the conference later received feedback that the chairs had done a fabulous job answering all of the delegates’ questions and aiding them in becoming accustomed to the process of a Model UN conference. Co-Director Benjamin W. (’23) reflected, “The conference, in my mind, was a success. Our goal was to help students new to Model UN get acclimated to it, and our conference gave them the right environment to do just that. I’m confident the students got a lot out of it because of the excellent feedback we received.” 


Ms. Aust, Head of Operations at BASIS Independent Mclean, commented on the momentous nature of the achievement: “We are so proud of this group of students for running the first Model UN Conference at a BASIS Independent School. We look forward to future conferences and being able to hold something in person.” It was clear that the conference had been a success in achieving its goal and establishing a precedent for the Model UN club at BASIS Independent Mclean to follow. All of the conference’s success was thanks to the hard work and determination of the chairs and Secretariat. This conference established a precedent for future BIMMUN conferences to follow.