PDS Model UN Finds Ways to Stay Strong

Late last month, the Panther Model UN team completed an historic event virtually after many months on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down competition.

This fall, the team came up with creative ways to cultivate new membership and provide opportunities to learn and sharpen skills. Throughout October, PDS MUN leaders organized several Model UN crash courses to generate excitement, understanding and experience in October, then planned an extended virtual simulation session on October 30, for which participants conducted research on selected global issues.

As Co-Secretariat General Katie Jain '21 explained, "This year we took on more kids than ever before by reaching out to those who tried out in the past and were not selected, while encouraging all US grade levels to explore the opportunity to join the team. Our goals were to get kids to take a chance and explore what MUN offers regardless of experience or previous exposure."

One of the enduring strengths of the PDS MUN team, which was ranked among the top 25 US teams a year ago, is the extent to which leadership helps cultivate new members and steeps them in best practice training. The peer-to-peer mentor program they developed over the past several years is exceptionally effective and has become a national model for other schools.

"I'm so proud of our MUN team and the strong transition from last year's excellent leadership to this year's Secretariat. Our team leaders have demonstrated resilience and innovative planning in the face of exceptional circumstances this year," said MUN Faculty Advisor (and US history teacher and class dean) Stefanie Santangelo

After its thoughtful preparations this fall, the Upper School Model UN team participated in its first virtual conference just before Thanksgiving: Bruin Model UN, hosted by UCLA. Under the leadership of Secretariat Generals Katie Jain and Anjali Bhatia '21 and Undersecretariat Generals Saahith Potluri '21, Sarina Hasan '22 and Vinay Rao '21, the delegation performed very well. The following PDS MUN participants were recognized for their superb contributions:

Best Delegate

  • Katie Jain: UNCSW, Ghana 
  • Saahith Potluri: Standard Oil Board, Stephen Harkness Chief of Operations
  • Peter Ryan '23: SOCHUM, Kenya
  • Akash Bhowmick '10: UNIDO, Norway
  • Ansh Kulkarni '22: UNIDO, Norway
  • Tori Sullivan '21: WTO, New Zealand 
  • Navaneeth Rajan '23: WTO, New Zealand 

Outstanding Delegate

  • Anjali Bhatia: GRULAC, Honduras 
  • Albert Zhou '23: UNEP, Denmark

Honorable Mention

  • Sarina Hasan: IMO, South Korea
  • Alex McInnes '23: IMO, South Korea

Verbal Commendation

  • Eli Soffer '22: Dutch Revolt, Anthony van Lalaing, Count of Hoogstraten
  • David Cohen '23: GA Plenary, Iraq
  • Vaishnavi Bhalla '23: GA Plenary, Iraq
  • Will Sun '22: Hawaiian Punch, George Norton Wilcox, Minister of Agriculture

For more about PDS Model UN see our February news post with highlights of the last in-person competitions, the MUN Yale Conference, and the November 2019 NYU Empire MUN Conference.  

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