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'To inspire people': UNC hosts 14th Model United Nations conference


Photo Courtesy of Adolfo Alvarez.

The 14th UNC Model United Nations Conference— known as UNCMUNC XIV— is being held from Nov. 16 through Nov. 19 on campus. The event brings together more than 430 students from 35 colleges and universities across two countries and 17 states

The conference is a four-day intensive period of debate, philanthropy and social events, according to UNC sophomore Adolfo Alvarez, the secretary-general for UNCMUNC XIV. He took on his role in December of last year and said he has been to over 40 Model U.N. conferences in eight years.

“I can’t tell you a day since July that I haven’t had to do conference-related stuff, because it’s a huge project,” he said

The overarching theme for the event is “a call for action in uncertain times.” Aidan Lynch, a UNC senior and director-general of the conference, said that this statement encapsulates the world that his generation is growing up in. 

The conference will include a variety of crisis committees with topics including women’s empowerment, artificial intelligence advancement and college admissions scandals. Alvarez said this year's event will also have the first-ever Dynamic Crisis Committee, allowing students to play multiple roles using a whiteboard placard — usually a participant only fulfills a single role.

“For example, you could be Guatemala, Apple and Amazon,” he said

The conference booked about 53 rooms across campus, including the entire Student Union. Alvarez said four teams will receive awards at the end of the conference, based on points awarded to delegates throughout the events and the size of the teams. 

He also said this is the first year that the conference has put a main focus on a philanthropic element. Through the EarthMUNC project, the conference will collaborate with Transplanting Traditions Community Farm, a farm for Burmese refugees located about 10 minutes from UNC.

Candice Guo, a sophomore and director of public relations for UNCMUNC XIV, said she connected the conference to the farm after volunteering there.

“The farm is more than just a place for them to plant and sell their produce,” Guo said. “It also ties together the Burmese community.”

The conference staff attended a volunteer day at the community farm earlier this month. A salad sale with organic produce from the farm will take place during the conference on Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the second floor lobby area of the Union.

Guo said the money raised will go toward funding the farm’s youth empowerment program. The executive director of Transplanting Traditions Community Farm, Ree Ree Wei, spoke on Thursday at the opening symposium on the intersection of migration, refugees and education, according to UNCMUNC XIV’s instagram.

Other speakers include Consul General of Mexico in the Carolinas Claudia Velasco Osorio, as well as UNC Professors Elizabeth Olson and Niklaus Steiner.

As a transfer student, Lynch said that becoming involved in Model U.N. last year has allowed him to meet a lot of good people on campus.

“We’re just trying to use what we can within Model U.N. to inspire people and help people realize that what they’re doing in this conference, even though it doesn’t have any real world implications, might one day inspire them to actually do something that does,” Lynch said.

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