Going down in diplomacy

Langley's Model United Nations team sets an all-time 4/4 school record for the collegiate circuit

From+left+to+right%3A+seniors+Diego+Morandi%2C+Surya+Reddy%2C+Kavye+Vij%2C+Alex+Hutner%2C+and+junior+Daniel+Kalish+pose+with+their+fourth+and+final+win+at+Old+Dominion+University+%28Photo+by+Stocks%29.

From left to right: seniors Diego Morandi, Surya Reddy, Kavye Vij, Alex Hutner, and junior Daniel Kalish pose with their fourth and final win at Old Dominion University (Photo by Stocks).

Aiden O'Connor and Colleen Sherry

Since 2011, lovers of history, public speaking, politics, and leadership have found a home among Langley’s iconic Model United Nations (MUN) team; a club boasting over 130 members of the student body and–after this past year–an all-time record for collegiate wins.

MUN takes student delegates and places them in foreign policy situations by committee, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the President’s Cabinet, and tasks the delegates to resolve given topics through debate, policy proposal, and collaboration. Langley’s MUN team travels annually to four college-level conferences on the east coast to compete against other teams including McLean High School and Thomas Jefferson. 

This year, however, marked a new era of prestige for Langley’s MUN team as the school successfully competed at and won all four college conferences at the University of Virginia (UVA), College of William & Mary (W&M), University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and Old Dominion University (ODU); the first time in Langley history to do so.

Winning all four conferences was a good feeling, but the individual experiences were far better. At UVA, the team won for the 5th year in a row. At W&M, the team won for the first time since 2014 (when I was in 7th grade). At UPenn, the team had its best performance ever on (arguably) the largest stage in the world for MUN. Finally, at ODU we finished our streak of four out of four,” Secretary-General (President) Kavye Vij said.

Senior officers Kavye Vij, Alex Hutner, Surya Reddy, and Diego Morandi, along with junior officer Daniel Kalish led the travel team to victory for the 2019-2020 school year, often sacrificing other commitments to effectively do so.

I’d say I have definitely made a sacrifice in terms of grades, and there were times I was unable to participate in other activities, as well. For example, I was unable to attend a Band-related event and a Medical Club-related event during one of our college conferences, ILMUNC. However, conferences, like ILMUNC, are a rewarding experience that make all the sacrifices (somewhat) worthwhile,” said Reddy.

Langley delegates’ work ethic never wavered from long night to long day as they faced some of the most difficult competition the American MUN circuit has to offer.

Without a doubt, the depth of our team [made us good]. Starting off the year, I was blown away by the amount of talent that each grade level had when it came to MUN. It seemed as if so many of our newcomers were seasoned veterans,” Morandi said.

Delegates often returned from grueling committee sessions well after 10pm and proceeded to spend countless more hours preparing for the next session–an exhausting cycle of work that only commenced after the conference finished.

“It can get pretty repetitive, debating the same topic for so long; and it’s a lot of dealing with manipulative people, which can get very annoying over time. Fitting it in with school is also hard just because you have to devote a full four days which leaves no time for homework,” Hutner said.

Long-time MUN sponsor Senorita Jen Stocks accompanied the travel team on all the trips as usual.

“This is my 7th year sponsoring the MUN team.  I enjoy seeing the students collaborate with other students from around the world to create solutions for real-world problems and I enjoy seeing the students have an opportunity to learn how to speak eloquently in front of large groups,” Stocks said. 

The team weathered Peruvian and Gulf Coast delegates, complex dialogue, hours of policy research, horrendous lack of sleep, and the stress of team expectations from early September to emerge victorious at the end of the collegiate circuit in February–wrapping up the year by hosting their own conference for middle and high school teams in Virginia on March 6-7.

The schedule at most conferences is usually from about 6am to 11pm, but of course we like to hang out and mess around a lot, so we end up with, like four hours of sleep a night,” Hutner said.

Langley’s Model United Nations (MUN) finishes their William & Mary conference with Best Delegation; equivalent to first place (Photo by Stocks).