Bainbridge MUN Heads to PACMUN BHS students participate in a weekend filled with diplomacy and debate
Last Friday afternoon, ninety-five Bainbridge High School students dressed in western business attire and dragging suitcases and backpacks strode off the ferry and marched up towards Sixth Avenue. Their destination was the Grand Sheraton Hotel, where they would spend the coming weekend as delegates, stepping into the role of a specific nation or individual to represent in a plethora of different committees. After two months of weekly meetings and preparations, Bainbridge was heading for PACMUN 2019.
Pacific Model United Nations (PACMUN) is the largest Model United Nations conference in the Pacific Northwest. Over seven hundred students attended the conference this year, with some coming from Idaho and California, though most came from schools in the Seattle area. This is Bainbridge’s sixth time attending the conference, having attended it since the inception of the conference.
In addition to committees that are a part of the United Nations, PACMUN’s roster of committees also included bodies such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, International Council for Science, U.S. Senate, European Union, and others. For more experienced delegates, there are specialized committees in which they can step back in time to the cabinet of the Soviet Union, become generals during the expansion of the Mongol Empire, or rewrite the U.S. constitution to better fit the modern day.
The biggest delegation in the six-year history of PACMUN, Bainbridge brought ninety-five students to Seattle for the conference. Capping off the number of Bainbridge students at over one hundred, six Bainbridge students also staffed the conference. Anna Hipp-Kaplan, Pete Streufert, Cora Cole, Spencer Bispham, and Kaitlyn Hung all chose to use their years of MUN experience to try their hand at serving on the daises of committees such as the Cabinet, European Union, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and United Nations Environmental Programme respectively. Bentley Eldrige also staffed at the conference as a member of the media team, taking photos and videos of the activities in committees throughout the conference.
Students represented countries from around the world in their committees, debating real-life topics such as freedom of the press, the ethicalities of weather modification, sustainable space technologies, countering the rise of antibiotic-resistant diseases, and many others. In total, delegates debated for seventeen hours, divided up into eight sessions ranging from two to four hours each. Apart from the hours dedicated to debating, Bainbridge students also attended the delegate dance and spent their lunch breaks eating out in the city.
Model United Nations (MUN) is BHS’ largest club, with 135 students (roughly 10% of the total student body) participating. Bainbridge MUN also includes students from Eagle Harbor High School, as well as students participating in Running Start. Although the club said goodbye to some seniors last year, sixty-five new students joined this year. Of those sixty-five, around fifty attended PACMUN.
“I’m really proud of this gigantic delegation in terms of how committed they were to representing Bainbridge in a positive way and in the high level of preparation they showed,” Mara Saulitus, one of the club’s two advisors said. Despite the complicated logistics of managing ninety-five students, no major problems arose over the weekend.
Nine Bainbridge students received awards for their performance at the conference: Elise Bourmatnov and Camille Townsend won awards for best position paper; Matias Solberg and Sarah Balding won outstanding delegate; Oscar Bray won best delegate; and Ben Wangthamakua, Ava Skye Targett, Rose Weaver and Andres Rovalo received honorable mentions.
Later this school year, Bainbridge students will also be heading to New York City, Vancouver, small conferences in the Seattle area, as well as the first ever conference hosted by Bainbridge MUN. New members are always welcome to join. The club meets Monday evenings at 6:30 (with make-up meetings on Wednesdays after school) in room 238.