Milken in Philadelphia for ILMUNC

Joel Seligman

Staff Writer

The Milken delegation to the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) brought back a few positive experiences from their excursion to the University of Pennsylvania. The 17 delegates and one staff, Samantha Robbins, Director of Campus Events, brought back exhaustion, fond memories, a profound appreciation for Los Angeles weather, and a hunger for next year’s competition, not to mention the upcoming UC Berkeley and UC, Santa Barbara competitions.

While 12 of the 17 delegates had been to an inter-school Model UN conference, whether at Berkeley or Stanford, five of the group had never attended such a conference, and only two had attended previous ILMUN conferences. Two, Alex Weil ’14, and Rachel Zucker ’14 have never taken the Model UN course offered by Milken, despite the requirement by Milken to have done so to attend ILMUNC.

After the conference, Weil said, “Having absolutely no experience with Model UN before the trip, I was like an amateur baseball player somehow being called up to the big leagues at Penn. I got to face off against the best in the world…”

Milken truly was up against the best of the best. ILMUNC is recognized as one of the premier conferences in the country and the world and some of the best schools for Model UN in the United States attend the conference. The Milken delegates, representing Croatia, Brazil, and the Pakistani Minister of States, came prepared to debate and engage in diplomacy with delegates from other schools.

Milken’s efforts came to little fruition, as only one delegate, David Shadi ’14, came away with an award. Shadi came up with a verbal commendation, the fourth place award at the conferences. This lack of results caused a lot of disappointment among delegates.

Marc Pakravan ’14, said “I was definitely disappointed that that my partner and I weren’t able to come away with an award and that the Milken group didn’t either. But nonetheless, I noticed where we went wrong and will make a much better showing my next conference. You know what they say, we learn and improve best when we fail.”

This sentiment was reflected among many other delegates. After the letdown in award results at ILMUNC, Milken will be ready to excel at the upcoming conferences of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and bring home rewards for Milken’s excellent diplomacy skills.

Rachel Zucker ’14 fondly reminisced, “At one point, our committee room “lost” all power and we were forced to draft directives using iPhone lights, while fearing being kidnapped by the Shariah leaders of Pakistan. All in all, it was a great experience, and I do not regret starting World War 3, abandoning the people of Pakistan, or surrendering Pakistan to India.”

Overall, the trip was a great experience for everyone involved. All the delegates enjoyed their time in Philadelphia.

The delegation left Los Angeles January 23 for Philadelphia and arrived the next morning, only to be promptly woken from jet lag by the brisk cold of an east coast winter. Unlike the 70 degree temperature of Los Angeles, the east coast heralded temperatures below freezing.

As Shannon Delijani ‘14 put it, “We all stepped out of the airport and were hit with this insane blast of frigid air that went bone deep. It was such a shock to actually be experiencing weather and in that moment I think we all had a ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment.’”

The cold did not stop the Milken delegation from doing some sightseeing and enjoying the city of Philadelphia. On the first day, Milken walked over to the Liberty Bell and to Independance Hall, before getting lunch and walking back to the hotel.

The faculty advisor, Samantha Robbins, Director of Campus Event, said of the trip, “The weekend provided our Milken students the opportunity to interact with other schools from all over the world, improve their speech and debate and writing skills, and explore historic landmarks in Philadelphia… While the weather was a bit chillier than our sunny California landscape usually provides, this weekend was a valuable experience for all involved.”