GNUN 2020 Virtually Unstoppable

The 4th annual Glenlyon Norfolk School Model United Nations wrapped up a successful weekend, as the event saw nearly 70 students participate from various schools, including one from as far away as Thailand. 

“It went really well,” said Gabby MacPherson, Secretary General at GNS. “There was so much planning that went into it before that the conference ran incredibly smoothly… people of all different skill levels attended and it was all really exciting.”

The theme this year was “Virtually Unstoppable” which was fitting as, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the conference had to move to an online format. 
“It took a play on the fact it was a virtual conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gabby. “We also wanted to highlight the fact that due to social media, it has really spread the abilities of students worldwide to make a difference.” 
This year’s secretariat was filled with Grade 12 and veteran MUN students: 

  • Gabby MacPherson – Secretary General 
  • Ava Dryden – Director General 
  • Stefanie Chen – USG Tech, Media and Marketing 
  • Riya Gandhi – Co-USG Committees 
  • Anders Woodruff – Co-USG Committees 
  • Shreya Gandhi – USG Logistics and Finance 

The team started to plan the conference in late April and continued to have meetings throughout the summer leading up to the start of school. 
“I think GMUN was great this year. There was lots of debate and active students within our school,” said Ava. “It was interesting putting it together. I was on the Secretariat team last year as well. This year was nice. There was a lot less to do during the conference.”

For the opening ceremonies, Times Colonist columnist Jack Knox, was the keynote speaker. “He was wonderful,” said Gabby. “He was talking about who he was, what he does and jokes that he gets paid to do homework. Then he compared himself to people who aren’t anything like him. What he likes to do is look in the local community and find people you would walk past in the streets and not give a second glance, then tell the stories behind them.” 

The conference welcomes beginner to intermediate level GMUN participants, and Gabby said there was really something for everyone. 
“I hope for first-time delegates they gained an idea of what MUN is. There is so much action, diplomacy, crisis and cooperation that it’s a really unique experience. I don’t think you can get anywhere else,” she said. “I hope experienced delegates got to go back into this wonderful world and experience it even during the pandemic.” Middle School students participating in GMUN 2020 were part of the United Nations Human Rights Council and focused on the topic “Human Rights in Prison.” 

“Researching was really fun to learn about your country,” said Alex Dunatov ’26. “To learn about their laws as we did, and then speaking with other countries and agreeing and disagreeing, saying why you believe in these things.” 

This wasn’t the first time that Sawyer James ’26 participated in a Model United Nations conference and he said he enjoyed the online aspect of it. 
“I think the whole experience of being able to do it online—instead of in-person—it can give people more confidence,” Sawyer said. “With it being online, there is more time for you think what you were going to say, and it’s more surprising when you do get picked to speak because you don’t know if you were the first to ‘raise your hand.” Sasha Baterina’26 said she really enjoyed listening to the guest speaker Jack Knox. “It was really interesting,” she said. “He did it in a funny way where there were some jokes. Generally, MUN is fun, so if you want to attend a conference, GMUN is a great option during COVID-19. There are a lot of different things you can do.” 

Don’t forget to check out the International Press Corps, where delegates took on the role of reporter at the conference. Delegates were assigned to news agencies (New York Times, Al Jazeera, BBC, Buzzfeed and The Onion.  The IPC reporters spent committee sessions examining delegates’ foreign policy and writing articles for their retrospective news agencies. 

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