PDS Model UN Returns to In-Person Conferences

After last year’s all-virtual participation, our highly regarded Upper School Model UN (MUN) team is back and ready to attend conferences in-person once again. Over the last several weeks, Princeton Day School MUN delegations have participated in highly competitive conferences hosted by William and Mary and New York University, and will head to the Yale MUN conference after winter break, from January 20-23. 

The PDS MUN team has always practiced a student-led approach to its leadership and recruitment. Through school-wide announcements, members of MUN raise awareness among their peers by sharing about MUN team information sessions, fun opportunities to participate and conference results. Once students join MUN, a long-term mentorship experience provides the newer members with seasoned teammates who help impart essential skills and perspectives. This approach has clearly worked for the Panthers, as they just recently secured yet another Best Large Delegation award at the NYU Model UN conference!

Eli Soffer ’22, who shares the PDS MUN Secretariat position of Secretaries-General with Japna Singh ’22, explained, “The Best Large Delegation award is the highest award a team can win at a MUN conference, and we are ecstatic to finally bring it back to PDS. I think that this Best Large Delegation award proves that PDS MUN is back, and we will be a force on the high school MUN circuit as we have been in the past!”

When discussing the return to in-person conferences, Eli says he’s ecstatic to introduce the younger members of the team to the camaraderie and competitive nature of the conference circuit. “Staying in hotel rooms with friends, giving those awesome speeches in front of a whole room and the massive halls with the awards ceremonies are hard to beat and make the experience all the more meaningful. While the virtual conferences do their best, little can match the in-person experience, and we're excited for the team to be able to experience it.”

All of the excitement of the in-person experience comes with its challenges, of course. “Model UN conferences are pretty intense,” Eli continues. “Over the four days, I definitely don't eat or drink quite as much as I should because I am working the whole time. We write thousands of words in speeches and thousands more in resolutions designed to solve complex global issues.” Although it may be a demanding experience, Eli says that all of the hard work is well worth it: “Everything pays off when you feel that you are leading your committee in writing those resolutions, or you give an incredibly impassioned speech that you can tell, even virtually, has shaken the room or eventually win an award after all that hard work over the weekend.” 

When thinking ahead to the year of conferences, Eli says that he’s confident that this year’s team will continue their early success. “Overall, we're just really excited about this beginning to the year, as many on the team have never tasted the success that I think Japna and I had become accustomed to. Last year was a bit challenging for the team, but we are confident we can build off of this great start and bring more delegation awards back to the Day School!”

Below are the awards won from the William and Mary and NYU Conferences:

WMHSMUN (William and Mary):

Best Delegate:

Luke Haan ’25, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Benjamin Church

Outstanding Delegate:

Natalia Soffer ’25, Tik Tok Board of Directors, Vanessa Pappas

Emmy Demorre ’24, International Labor Organization, Cameroon

Jai Kasera ’23, United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, Ethiopia

Jahnavi Bhalla ’25, Legal Committee, Guinea

Sophia Zhou ’25, International Organization for Migration, Mauritius

Honorable Mention:

Sanjana Thakur ’25, Tik Tok Board of Directors, Chris Olsen

Liam Ryan ’24, JCC Brexit: Vote Remain, Roland Rudd

Peter Ryan ’23, JCC Brexit: Vote Stay, Andrea Leadsom

Verbal Commendation:

Navaneeth Rajan ’23, Presidency of Alexander Hamilton, James McHenry

Jamie Creasi ’24, International Air Traffic Association, KLM

Aulani Daniel ’25, United Nations Population Fund, Vanuatu

Armaan Agrawal ’25, United Nations Security Council, United Kingdom

Yaseen Mousa ’24, Kuwait Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs

EmpireMUNC (NYU):

Best Delegate:

Adya Jha ’24, World Health Organization, China

Ansh Kulkarni ’22, The Group of 20, China

Alex McInnes ’23, Ghosts of Tsushima, Tozawa Ukita

Eli Soffer ’22, Ad-Hoc Committee of the Secretary-General, James McGarel-Hogg

Outstanding Delegate: 

Katrina Zeng ’23, World Bank, China

Vaishnavi Bhalla ’23, Arab League, Comoros

Aadi Shankar ’24, UN Human Rights Commission, China

Arjun Kumar ’23, Operation Car Wash, Ricardo de Leon

Ben Masia ’24, Atlantis, Ianos Kasten

Best Position Paper:

Michelle Xu ’25, World Bank, Israel

Akash Bhowmick ’23, Disarmament and International Security, China

And the Best Large Delegation Award, PDSMUN’s first in 2 years!

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