From February 6-10, 2020, the Jackson Hole Model UN Team traveled to the University of Toronto Model United Nations (UTMUN) conference in Toronto, Canada. InterConnections 21 and the JH High School UN Club led a team of 21 students from JH High School, JH Community School, and Mountain Academy. Students developed their MUN skills at IC21’s annual Teton County Model UN (TCMUN) conference Several seasoned MUN veterans and a large number of underclassmen participated in the three-day conference among 500 students from 25 schools across Canada and the U.S. 

Model UN conferences develop civic engagement, critical thinking, and collaborative problem-solving skills across a wide variety of topics. Some UTMUN committees focused on developing global responses to important current events such as disease epidemics and global vaccination rates (World Health Organization), proliferation of the counterfeit medicine trade (Committee on Narcotics and Drugs), regulation of cryptocurrency (Economic and Financial Affairs Council), and women’s reproductive health rights (Commission on the Status of Women). 

However, the importance and relevance of interactive negotiation skills are not limited to the United Nations. Student delegates also worked on developing meaningful solutions in unusual settings such as the Huawei Board of Directors and the Papal Conclave, while others altered the course of history through simulations of the Conference of Dresden, the Yalta Conference, and the Chinese State Council during the Tiananmen Square protests.

While the spirit of Model UN aligns with collaborative diplomacy rather than competition, each committee chair chooses awards for best position papers (submitted by delegates prior to the conference) and top performance during committee sessions. Our delegation performed exceedingly well as the third most-awarded large delegation at the conference. Individual honors went to:

Best Position Paper: 

  • Annika Peacock, JHHS Junior (Princess Marie Louise of Austria, Conference of Dresden); 
  • Virginia Girling, JHHS Sophomore (Tao Jingwen, Huawei Board of Directors)

Honorable Mention: 

  • Maleah Tuttle, JHCS Senior (ADHOC); 
  • Carter Worcester, JHHS Sophomore (Georgina Jolibois, Truth and Reconciliation Committee)

Outstanding Delegate: 

  • Warren Levy, JHCS Senior (China, Committee on Narcotics and Drugs); 
  • Darcy Mueller, JHCS Senior (ADHOC Committee)

Best Delegate: 

  • Colin Reese, JHHS Sophomore (Henryk Ehrlich, Russian Revolution)

The Toronto conference marks InterConnections 21’s third international MUN trip within the past four years. Recent international and national trips included Bilbao Spain, Vancouver Canada, Johns Hopkins University, and Berkeley. While the Teton County Model UN conference provides the foundation for MUN skills, MUN trips immerse students in high-level large-scale simulations with thousands of motivated students from around the world.

Student participation in Model UN is made possible through robust fundraising efforts including raffle sales and community donations. InterConnections 21 wishes to sincerely thank all community members and businesses who supported our students on this impactful trip, especially the following raffle sponsors and direct donors: Orange Theory, Mountain Modern Motel, Skis Sporting Goods, Snake River Sporting Club, Wright Training, New West Knife Works, Grand Teton Lodge Company, Miazga’s, Vertical Harvest, Mary Girling, Stio, Breakfast Rotary Club, InterMountain Roofing, Browse and Buy, Elks Lodge, Briar Rose, the Nagel family, the Fauntleroy family, the Cecil family, and Carrie Kirkpatrick. This life-changing experience would not be possible without our generous community support!