On January 25, 20 upper school students in the Fieldston Model United Nations Club boarded a bus to Philadelphia for the 34th annual Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC XXXIV). After weeks of preparation, including hastily writing position papers during finals week and late-night research on the nation of Turkmenistan, which most of the delegation was representing, the club was ready to prove itself in Philly.
The next four days were some of the most intellectually stimulating, hectic, and exhausting days of our lives. We sat in committee for over 18 hours discussing world issues with 200 other students from more than 20 countries. Our committee, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), focused on the issue of human trafficking. Over four days, we, along with about 20 other delegates, crafted a 10-page document outlining new policies that we believed the United Nations should implement to combat human trafficking. Our resolution ended up passing almost unanimously, and despite our irrelevance in the committee (most people haven't even heard of Turkmenistan), we were incredibly successful.
After four long days, the club was seated in the back of the ballroom, anxiously awaiting awards at the closing ceremonies. The Secretary-General read off awards from a series of committees. Then, the word "Turkmenistan" echoed through the crowd. Olivia Pollack '21 and Hannah Platt '20 had won Verbal Commendations in ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Affairs Council), a committee with over 200 people. Then came the UNSST (United Nations 2025 Special Summit on Technology). Two of the club's star freshmen, Olivia Becker and Julie Johnson, were in this committee, and they knew that they had done well, but they weren't expecting to win. However, when the words "Best Delegate, Turkmenistan, from the Ethical Culture Fieldston School" rang out, our club erupted in cheers.
Everyone was in awe as they walked back from the podium with their gavels and plaques. It was the club's first-ever Best Delegate award, and it showed that all of our hard work paid off. Then came our committee. Although we had struggled to stay relevant in such a large committee, we were proud of our efforts, and they ended up paying off. We received a Verbal Commendation award. The last person to receive an award was Ryan Kelly '18, our club president, who also received a Verbal Commendation award in his regional body committee.
Overall, this conference was an incredible experience. We learned and grew closer as a club, and we are excited to bring our diplomatic skills back to Fieldston. We are also now busily preparing a middle school conference, EthicalMUN II, in May, which was a tremendous success last year. As the seniors graduate and we take on the immense task of leading this club, we are looking forward to many more years of success and growth as a club and excited to see where we go.
Awards obtained by Fieldston students at ILMUNC XXXIV:
- Best Delegate - Julie Johnson and Olivia Becker (United Nations 2025 Special Summit on Technology, Turkmenistan)
- Verbal Commendation - Iva Knezevic and Theo Dassin (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Turkmenistan)
- Verbal Commendation - Hannah Platt and Olivia Pollack (Economic and Financial Affairs Council, Turkmenistan)
- Verbal Commendation - Ryan Kelly (2020 British Parliament, Jessica Morden)
Members of the Model UN Club with the club's advisor, Dr. Jerry Blaney (center), Fieldston Upper history teacher