It was electric. More than 1000 students from 58 schools filled the Gentile Gym for SIMUN XXII: The largest one-day Model United Nations conference in the country.
The mission of the day, the mission of MUN, is to promote global citizenship with an understanding that solving problems requires face-to-face discussions and a true desire for change.
In that spirit, in his opening remarks, SIMUN XXII’s Secretary General Cameron Blackburn ‘24 told the crowd, “You all recognize global issues, and are willing to debate to create the world you want to inhabit.”
Blackburn was one of nine students who spent almost a year preparing for this conference.
SIMUN Program Director Diane Haleas said, “The leaders organized this with unmatched passion and dedication. They have a real love for all the people who came here today, and they wanted to give them a positive experience in the interest of making positive changes in the world.”
She made sure to name the members of this year’s leadership team. They included Blackburn along with Directors General McKenzie Tomasik ‘24, Natalie Kim ‘24, Jai Devnani ‘24, Ali Clinton ‘24; and Crisis Directors Daniel Wilkison ‘24, Sam Gianfrancisco ‘24, Tyler Shaver ‘24 and Iwan Skomoroch ‘24. Haleas also made sure to recognize the nearly 150 SIMUN members who ran crisis updates and staffed committees.
Before breaking off into those committees to do the work that challenges students to collaborate, problem solve and speak publicly, Tomasik '24 interviewed the event’s keynote speaker, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham.
She passed along three life lessons to the student delegates who were there to grow their diplomacy skills.
Cunningham said, “Focus on understanding humanity. Everything we do has a human being on the other side of the interaction. Always be prepared. And understand we are all in this together. We should always all help each other.”