top of page

Mercersburg mogs the competition

Bauhinia Chen ‘26

Jan 26, 2024

Last weekend, Director of Global Programs Justine O’Connell led students of the Model UN program to the Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition (CMUNCE). For the past two years, the trip has been used for the professional development of Mercersburg’s Secretariat, the team of student leaders within the school’s PGA. Members were selected after an application and interview process last spring and convened during the early days of fall to prepare for the winter season, during which they led the other student delegates. 

The primary purpose of the trip to CMUNCE was to foster the leaders’ growth and hone their skills. O’Connell said, “Their charge is to return to campus with more experience, knowledge, and strategies and create at least one PGA session where they lead the training session. This peer-to-peer training is powerful because Model UN is mostly an individual endeavor. Having the Secretariat help the other delegates creates a sense of team which, in my opinion, only makes us stronger.” 

This year, the Secretariat consists of five members: Secretary General Kevin Hang ‘24,  Deputy Secretary General Gabe McGuire ‘24, Director of Finance Zoe Shykind ‘24, Head Delegate Abi Bam ‘24, and Head Delegate Zoe Duffy ‘26. Tahir Hasanov ‘25 traveled with the team as a sixth delegate. O’Connell noted, “He has been a great addition to the delegation.”

The trip was a fruitful and enjoyable experience for the students. Duffy said, “My committee was definitely challenging but super fun! I gained a lot of experience doing new things. For example, this year, I sat in a crisis committee on the Hunger Games. This was very different from anything I have ever done before. It was great to talk to current Columbia students about the school, admissions, and their interests, as well as improve our skills.”

“The trip was fantastic,” Hasanov said. “Here, hundreds of students from several schools come together. It's a great way to improve your debating skills, meet new people, and have a great time.”

McGuire said, “It was tiring because we were always engaged in thought, movement, and our practices. But I think it was a great experience for all of us. It provided the Secretariat with an opportunity to see what it’s like to compete at a high level.” He also commented upon how interesting it was to learn from actual delegates, “I got to hear personal responses from the delegates representing Spain. It was interesting to hear how my perspective differed from a real delegate, which was surprisingly really similar.”

At the conference, McGuire won Best Delegate in his committee, while Hasanov won a Verbal Commendation in his. 

bottom of page