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Hundreds Convene for Student-Run Yeshiva University National Model UN Conference

Over 450 delegates convened from February 9-11 for the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference, held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Stamford, CT. YUNMUN XXIV brought together student ambassadors from 46 yeshivas and community day schools across three continents, hailing from 15 states and 39 cities around the world. In addition, 60 YU undergraduates and 65 faculty advisers joined the conference, which is a student-run simulation of the workings of the real United Nations that allows participants to learn about the complex landscape of international diplomacy.

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Behind the Scenes with Shield News, Yeshiva University’s Student-Run Broadcast News Team

These days, The Shield News team—Yeshiva University’s student-run news video broadcast—is a well-oiled machine.

Shield News

Shield News anchors Benjamin Scheiner and Shimra Barnett.

For instance, they’ve gotten their popular “Week at a Glance” videos, which keep YU students up to date on the academic calendar, extracurricular events and university athletics news, down to a science. In the beginning of the week, producer and Yeshiva College senior David Bodner takes a look at the YU Events Calendar, selecting the most talked-about upcoming events for a script to be built out by a team of student writers and writing editors. Then anchors Benjamin Scheiner ’14YC and Shimra Barnett ’15S join videographers Ari Hagler ’16YC or David Khabinsky ’14YC at the team’s studio in the Schottenstein Center, where they draw on many of the modern staples of broadcast news, such as a green screen and a teleprompter, to give their broadcasts a professional look and feel. Read the rest of this entry…

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Hundreds of High School Students from Across the World Attend YU’s 23rd Annual Model UN Competition

For the 23rd straight year, the Yeshiva University National Model United Nations competition (YUNMUN) brought together hundreds of high school students from around the world for an interactive simulation of the inner workings of the real United Nations. From February 3 – 5, 460 student participants played the roles of delegates to actual UN member nations, championing positions on key issues and learning about the complexities of international diplomacy firsthand.

YUNMUN 2013 drew students from a record 48 high schools on three different continents, including delegations from Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

“It was thrilling to be able to represent our own country,” said Yaffa Abadi of Yeshiva College High School in Johannesburg. Read the rest of this entry…

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Hundreds of High School Students Learn Diplomacy at Yeshiva University Model UN

More than 600 high school students from around the world gathered in Stamford, Connecticut, from February 5-7 for the 22nd Annual Yeshiva University Model UN competition, or YUNMUN. The annual competition, sponsored by the YU Office of Admissions, featured a schedule packed with committee sessions, keynote speakers and abundant networking opportunities.

[flickrslideshow acct_name="yeshivauniversity" id="72157629259067447"]

Students came from 45 schools, spanning 3 continents, 4 countries and 12 states, with delegations from South Africa, Brazil and Canada. “It was really amazing, coming from South Africa, and it was such an eye-opening experience,” said Ariella Blumenthal from the Yeshiva College of South Africa.

Preparation for the competition starts months in advance and requires a collaboration between YU students who chair the secretariat and the YU Office of Admissions. Topics must be prepared for the students, the committees must be chosen and the hotel prepared for the convergence of high school students, their staff, and the staff of YU admissions and undergraduates.

The competition features an intricate Internet system that provides all committee rooms access to a laptop and printing. There is also a resource room that produces four issues of a newspaper during the three-day conference. Students are encouraged to contribute thoughts, observations, artwork and articles to share with the rest of the conference.

Having been previously assigned countries, the students came prepared to argue their country’s position in a variety of UN committees ranging from the Human Rights Council to the UN Environment Program on topics that had been planned by YU undergraduates. The sessions were entirely chaired and administrated by the more than 50 YU students who joined the conference to moderate the debates between the high school students and select the delegates that would receive awards. “The competition was top notch,” said Benny Smith, a senior at YU’s Syms School of Business. “I had a difficult time figuring out who to award.”

Certain aspects of the competition have attained an almost legendary status, such as the “midnight crisis” thrust on members of the Security Council. This year’s 4 a.m. wakeup was “definitely intense,” according to Daniel Sacks, a senior from YULA High School in Los Angeles. “But being able to solve a crisis and form coalitions at that hour was an incredible experience.”

This year’s competition introduced a new initiative to add a social action component during the conference. In between committee sessions, the students were privileged to hear from Jacqueline Murekatete, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and currently a student at YU’s Benjamin N. Cordozo School of Law. Murekatete told students her story and implored them to get involved with the world around them.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, also addressed the delegates, explaining his work in Geneva to protect the interests of Israel and other countries that are scrutinized by the Human Rights Council. “This is a very important event,” said Neuer. “I went to the Harvard Model UN competition but couldn’t participate because I was shomer Shabbat [Sabbath observant]. I am enormously impressed, and I wish the real UN was as serious as these sessions.”

For the first time YUNMUN XXII also featured a Jumbotron screen in the main hall where participants could view real-time tweets with the dedicated Twitter hashtag, #yunmun2012.

The conference concluded with an awards ceremony and an address from YU President Richard M. Joel, who reminded the young delegates that “it is not enough to think about ideas. It is not enough to dream—you need to do.”

The author, Sophie Felder, is senior at Stern College for Women majoring in political science with a minor in economics. She is the managing editor for the Stern newspaper, The Observer.

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Hundreds of High School Students from Around the World Gathered at Yeshiva University’s Annual Model UN Conference

Hundreds of high school students from around the world debated important issues as part of Yeshiva University’s 21st National Model U.N. (YUNMUN) from February 6-8. The students, from nearly 50 different high schools from four continents, represented nearly all of the United Nations’ member countries in 15 different committees, and debated topics ranging from the peaceful uses of outer space to the elimination of discrimination against women.

YUNMUNThe annual event took place at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Stamford, Conn. According to Michael Kranzler, director of undergraduate admissions at YU, the conference is the largest Jewish high school event of its kind.

The students, who were assigned their representative member countries months before the conference, spent all year preparing their position papers so they could debate about the issues and work together to draft resolutions. They also studied the procedures of the United Nations, as they were required to follow its methods of discussion and deliberation. The students had the opportunity to not only work on their public speaking and knowledge of politics and negotiating but also to meet and work with peers from Jewish high schools around the world.

On Sunday night, the students enjoyed Super Bowl XLV before UN Secretary General Steven Paletz officially opened the conference. “The conference will illustrate the inherent difficulties but uplifting possibilities of effecting true change,” said Paletz. The knowledge gained at YUNMUN can help the students increase their enthusiasm and “apply their passions, not just in their individual high schools and communities but across the globe.”



Eliora Katz, one of the participating students, said that she “realized that compromise is not just an exercise during a committee session…we must live and breathe to allow the wide spectrum of people’s opinions and lives to merge and succeed.” Her school, the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy from Rockville, Md. took home the Best Delegation Award, placing first of the 48 schools at the conference.

Michi Hayman, a Yeshiva College senior and chair of the International Law Commission, said, “The atmosphere of all these Jewish high schools coming together is amazing.”

Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, who delivered the keynote address, spoke of the challenges that the students’ generation will face and the lessons they can learn from YUNMUN: “Maps are not eternal. Boundaries shift, sympathies change—it’s all up for grabs. Some of it is healthy but most of it is scary. …The UN is a metaphor. It’s a metaphor of whether or not we believe in civilization, in civility. Do we believe as a people we can build something together?  If we don’t, it’s back to rules of force. We need to know how to disagree agreeably.”

View slideshows from the conference here.

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Feb 1, 2004 — Hundreds of high school students from across North America will debate the world’s fate at the 14th Annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference, Feb. 8-10, at Kutsher’s Country Club in Monticello, NY.

About 460 students from 38 high schools will debate topics such as world health, disarmament, and trade and development during a simulated meeting of the UN. Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel will deliver the keynote address on Sunday, Feb. 8.

The conference, established and hosted by Yeshiva University, is the largest Jewish high school conference of its kind, said Michael Kranzler, YU director of admissions.

Each school represents at least one UN-member country. Students are assigned to one of the 16 committees, including the International Court of Justice, the World Health Organization, and the Middle East Summit. As committee members, students will present their countries’ positions on various matters. YUNMUN models procedures used by the real UN. Beyond learning about politics, public speaking, and negotiation, students will meet and work with peers from other high schools.

For more information on YUNMUN, visit the conference’s Web site at www.yu.edu/yunmun.

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