The merits of mining asteroids must be debated, galactic senators must hold emergency meetings, and protests in Hong Kong must be dealt with. Such is the hectic and global atmosphere of COMMUN, Commonwealth’s Model UN Conference, which was held virtually last weekend.
Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, COMMUN organizers—all current students—successfully hosted roughly sixty middle-school delegates from Boston-area schools and Model UN clubs, only having to forgo a few aspects of the conference to fit into a virtual space.
When it became clear to the Secretariat (student leaders) that COMMUN participants would not be returning to school by the scheduled date, they quickly pivoted to a virtual conference, working tirelessly to communicate with delegates and advisors and doing “dry-tech” runs to anticipate everything that could possibly go wrong in a new platform.
“I'm incredibly proud of how adaptable both our team and the delegates were through the process,” said Secretary-General Alec Mathur ‘20. “The conference ran really smoothly, and I got positive feedback from the delegates, their advisors, and the COMMUN team.”
The conference was keynoted by Carlo James Aragón, who brought a wealth of experience in foreign and domestic political relations. Mr. Aragón has studied Arabic and cultural education across the Middle East, most notably in Oman, and more recently produced a documentary on how Native American Nations within the United States can play a positive role in environmental law and climate change policy. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy at Tufts.
The event was a testament to the flexibility and ingenuity in transitioning to a digital platform, especially for a conference like COMMUN, which relies on face-to-face engagement and requires year-round planning as position papers are drafted and committees formed.
“It was great to be able to preserve the event since I know a lot of people spend a long time looking forward to attending it, and we've all had to forgo so many of the things we'd had planned for the spring,” Alec said.