University of Delaware
The HenMUN III secretariat with UD President Patrick Harker (right) and keynote speaker State Sen. Bryan Townsend (left, back row).

Future leaders

Tuberculosis, e-waste dumping top Model United Nations Conference issues

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11:42 a.m., March 23, 2015--More than 285 high school students packed the auditorium of Mitchell Hall for the opening ceremony of the University of Delaware’s Model United Nations Conference, HenMUN III, on Feb. 27.

That night marked the beginning of a full weekend in which students from seven states adopted the perspectives of over 50 countries in debating some of the most challenging global issues of our time.

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“These are all future leaders, and it begins at HenMUN,” said Elyssa Abuhoff, secretary-general of HenMUN III.

Now in its third year, HenMUN instills in its delegates the ability to address, head on, world challenges. This year, students had the opportunity to debate issues like the protection of the rights of international journalists, foreign intervention in internal conflicts, tuberculosis in South Africa and e-waste dumping, among other things.

Keynote speaker Bryan Townsend, a UD alumnus, Newark native and Delaware state senator, addressed the students at the opening ceremony. He stressed that the weekend not only presented the opportunity for competitive debate, but also personal growth.

“To those of you who are assigned to countries whose concerns, experiences and situations are so far different from your own, this is an opportunity to walk a mile in someone else's shoes,” Townsend said. “To try to understand what it means to be faced with those challenges, and to develop the ability to understand others, I think, is the most critical skill you can develop.”

With its realistic approach, the event offers 15 committees within a general assembly, economic and social councils, regional bodies and specialized agencies. 

When students weren’t debating the world’s most pressing topics, they had the opportunity to network with their peers at a series of social events including a delegate dance and ice cream social.

Participating students also came together with the secretariat to raise over $1,200 for UD’s buildOn chapter, this year’s chosen charity initiative.

HenMUN III is run by a secretariat, made up of eight UD undergraduate students: Abuhoff, Kevin Konzelman, Yousef Aly, Samara Badash, Chris Merken, Melissa Verlaque, Eden Sung and Sara Cannizzaro.  

The conference was sponsored in collaboration with the following University units: Department of Political Science and International Relations, Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Sciences, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, School of Public Policy and Administration, Office of Admissions, Institute for Global Studies, Office for International Students and Scholars, and UD Honors Program.  

About HenMUN

HenMUN was begun in 2013 by a group of undergraduate students who sought an opportunity for high school students to participate in a realistic Model United Nations Conference.

Since 2013, HenMUN has hosted almost 900 student delegates and has raised over $3,600 for its sponsored charities. Named a notable conference by Best Delegate in 2014, it has been called "full of fresh ideas" and “incredibly well executed.”

To learn more about UD’s Model United Nations Conference, visit the HenMUN website.

Article by Nikki Laws

Photos by McKenzie Tsaousis

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