A Successful SIMUN

Parker Model UN Delegation Attends St. Ignatius Model UN Conference


Photo credit: Rania Jones

Parker’s Model UN team gathers after a triumphant day of symposia.

On the blustery morning of November 5, 25 delegates from Francis Parker strode through the grand doors of Saint Ignatius College Prep School. Hundreds of students filled the bleachers in the St. Ignatius gym, conversing and preparing. From 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., those students participated in the Saint Ignatius Model United Nations Conference (SIMUN). 

“This conference was the largest one-day high school conference in the country, with almost 1000 delegates competing,” said Ali Clinton, a junior at Saint Ignatius. Clinton was the chair of the press corps committee at the SIMUN XXI conference, which meant that she oversaw the delegates in her committee, wrote the background guide, and worked with other executive board members to organize the entire conference.

According to Clinton, this year was the largest SIMUN conference they have ever hosted, with the most competing delegates. “There was strong participation in SIMUN this year, and a lot of Parker delegates really wanted to go,” Model UN faculty advisor Jeanne Barr said. 

Parker Model UN usually requests 35 to 40 seats from the conference. In the past, Parker had to return 15 seats, but this year, delegates had to ask for more. 

“This interest is exciting because SIMUN is great in the sense that it is a local conference and is a single day that’s out of school, so delegates can step into a new environment that encourages them to step up their game and try out all of the tools they have been practicing in our symposia all fall,” Barr said.

The conference started with a keynote speaker, Emma Yaaka, who spoke on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and is the Refugee Congress Delegate for Illinois. “Emma Yaaka had a very powerful message to get across. One of the main things he fights for is the rights of refugees, but he also fights for the basic human rights of all people,” junior Davu Hemphill-Smith said in reaction to the keynote speaker. “Whether that be those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community or women’s rights activists, Mr. Yaaka believes that all people should have their basic rights protected, even if you may not necessarily agree with their beliefs or customs. All in all, Emma Yaaka was a pretty great speaker.” 

After an opening ceremony where SIMUN leaders introduced the delegates to the forty committees of the general assembly, crisis, and hybrid types, the committees broke off into their respective rooms to debate their topics and develop innovative solutions for the issues presented.

SIMUN requires a lot of preparation. “The planning process for this conference started in the spring of the last school year, where applications and committees were finalized,” Clinton said. “Then deadlines came over the summer and the early weeks of the school year to prepare. The entire SIMUN team, made up of hundreds of Ignatius students from all four class years, was involved in this planning process.” 

“I had a great time at SIMUN this year, and I’m so glad my committee was a success, and the delegates were hardworking,” said Clinton when reflecting on her SIMUN XXI experience. “I was on the World Health Organization (WHO) Committee, which was a really fun experience,” freshman Graysen Pendry said. “I think that Model UN is all about confidence and taking charge, and since it was my first conference, I was still learning the ropes. Next time, though, I want to be more involved in the actual conference debate.”

“My committee was the Amazon Board of Directors, and I was Jeff Bezos, so that was super fun,” senior Rania Jones said. “My experience [at SIMUN] was so much fun, obviously, with such a creative topic and position. We had a strong balance of banter and real debate, which is always rewarding!”

Parker Model UN delegates were successful at this conference. Out of the twenty-five students present, thirteen received awards for either being an honorable delegate or an outstanding delegate. “Our Model UN team did insane this time around with awards in some of the hardest committees at SIMUN,” said Jones, who received an award for outstanding delegate. “I felt like a proud mom taking pictures of everyone when they went to get their medals. I definitely think that our Model UN team was extremely well prepared and it’s evident in just the sheer amount of people who won awards. We haven’t seen numbers like that in years! I think I can also say that everyone left with a smile on their face, so I’m glad people genuinely had fun too.”