Delegates win awards at UCSB Model United Nations


Averie Perrin/Chronicle

Model United Nations delegates listen on as Grace Coleman ’24 speaks on behalf of her country. Coleman represented the nation of Cuba at the event hosted virtually by the University of Santa Barbara.

Averie Perrin

The Model United Nations (MUN) team attended the Gaucho Model United Nations (GauchoMUN) conference, hosted virtually by the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) on Feb. 5-6. Participants engaged with specialized committees and crisis committees and represented countries and historical figures in diplomatic debates.

Jason Morganbesser ’22 won Best Delegate for his participation in the Bastille crisis committee as Jean-Paul Marat, and Ahren Bhatia ’24 earned a Verbal Commendation representing India in the Jammu and Kashmir specialized committee.

Morganbesser said he appreciated the flexibility the crisis committee setting offered.

“[The conference] allowed for significantly more creativity from its delegates than conferences often do,” Morganbesser said. “In my committee, [which focused] on the French Revolution, a significant percentage of our members colonized Hawaii and engaged in witchcraft, something that most [MUN crisis committee chairs] would take issue with, but at GauchoMUN, that was allowed.”

Morganbesser said he particularly liked competing as Jean-Paul Marat.

“My favorite part of the conference was inhabiting the character I was assigned and trying to view the world as he did and in doing so, better understanding the bases of his actions,” Morganbesser said.

Bhatia, who participated in the specialized Jammu and Kashmir committee, said he was disappointed to be in a virtual setting, but he said he enjoyed participating in the debates on his assigned topic.

“The online format was definitely more informal and unorganized than an in-person conference, but I would do it again,” Bhatia said. “The topic for my committee was about Kashmir and the [ongoing] fight for control [over the area] , so [the topic] was very interesting considering how relevant the topic is and how it is still an issue in today’s day and age.”

MUN member Mia Patel ’24, who said she is new to the team, represented Iraq in a dual delegation with Noelle Kim ’24. Patel said she enjoyed competing despite the challenging preparation and online format.

“I was surprised how well the conference flowed on Zoom,” Patel said. “A downside of the conference, though, was that I felt drained by the end of the day because of all of the hours [I spent] on Zoom. [GauchoMUN] was my first [MUN] conference, so I wish it would’ve been in person, as there would’ve been more opportunities to collaborate with other people, but it was still a beneficial learning experience.”

The MUN team is set to participate in the North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN) Conference hosted by Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 17-20.