CRLS’s Model United Nations Team Makes Waves in Chicago

Kiri-Anna Kingsbury Lee, Contributing Writer

Seven top members of CRLS’s Model United Nations (MUN) team flew to Chicago to attend the Model United Nations of the University of Chicago (MUNUC) conference. They returned victorious. Among the team were all five club leaders, as well as junior Sophia Robertson and sophomore Calvin Lewis. CRLS represented Mali, the Philippines, and Iceland across six distinct committees in which students approached real-world issues in the style of the United Nations through moderated caucuses, unmoderated diplomatic discussion, and proposing and drafting resolutions. The conference spanned four days, and delegates Sophia Robertson ’24, Luna Valayannopoulos-Akrivou ’23, Nicolas Valayannopoulos-Akrivou ’23, and Elaine Wen ’24 all received awards for their performance.

The conference was their first that required air travel in three years.

CRLS’s participation in MUNUC 2023 marks a milestone for the club. The conference was their first that required air travel in three years. Despite COVID setbacks and years of Zoom conferences, CRLS was impressively still able to dominate in Chicago. 

Due to the selective nature of the conference, only two non-leader members attended MUNUC. Calvin Lewis ’25 told the Register Forum, “I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go to Chicago for the very first time, and it was really special to be the only underclassman to go … I love [Model United Nations] because it gives me an opportunity to meet people that I wouldn’t get to otherwise.” 

The fact that the leaders and Mr. Yeh were able to organize and prepare a cross-country trip and conference is impressive, and a testament to the team’s, and school administration, commitment to MUN,” added Sophia Robertson ’24, who has been on the Model United Nations team since her sophomore year. 

The club has boomed in recent years, boasting over 70 active members who meet weekly before school to prepare for conferences and run “drills” that simulate committee situations. Leader Luna Valayannopoulos-Akrivou ’23 told the Register Forum, “A lot of the in-school meetings are meant to build confidence in delegates’ public speaking abilities, as well as their skills in conference,” which helps explain the popularity of the club, as its simulated scenarios bolster diverse academic and communication skills among participants. The environment is social yet rigorous, and connects students of all grades through activities such as double delegations, where members are paired up in teams of two to represent one country in conferences. Robertson and Lewis both agreed that traveling as a team of seven rather than the typical 30 to 40 in other conferences brought them and the leadership team together. “The team was great, and because it was such a small group, we were able to bond differently to if we had sent a larger delegation,” Lewis told the Register Forum. Robertson agreed, stating, “The smaller delegation really brought us together.”

The environment is social yet rigorous, and connects students of all grades.

The logistical elements of the conference were another great achievement. A trend among high school Model United Nations conferences is the dominance of large private schools in both committee makeup and awards, so it was rare that CRLS could attend, let alone deliver strong performances and earn multiple awards. “This is a huge step for CRLS MUN because it proved to me that a public school, even one with so much funding, could afford to send a MUN team to a state almost 1000 miles away,” Lewis commented.

CRLS Model United Nations looks forward to a trip to New York in March, where leadership and new members will participate at the National High School Model United Nations conference. They will no doubt see much success as the club continues to expand and blossom. 

This article also appears in our February 2023 print edition.