The annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference for Middle School students is right around the corner! Behind the scenes, there have been multiple meetings, much in-depth research, and some serious teamwork in order to prepare for this Saturday's big conference. And unlike the Wizard of Oz, who was just one person, behind the curtains of MUN Middle School are multiple wizards working their magic to make this program possible.

For many years the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) has supported the Lyceum's MUN events through student support and the offering of conference space. As in the past, the 6th Annual Model United Nations Middle School Conference will take place on the MIIS campus. In addition, a team of graduate students from the Model UN Club at MIIS, and those who have volunteered for the Lyceum in the past, are collaborating and working hard to ensure the program's success. Recently the MUN team has been gathering to discuss Committee Chair responsibilities, roles, rules and logistics. This year's experienced, diverse and motivated team includes Brendan Tarnay, Steven Perle, Stephen Doolittle, Monique Rao, Guldana Khamzina, Jacques Belval, Malvya Chintakindi and Dan Schrum.

MUN Middle School Team, Program Coordinator Ashley Gora and Executive Director Tom Nelson.

MUN Middle School Team, Program Coordinator Ashley Gora and Executive Director Tom Nelson.

Most of the students, like Malvya, Steven, and Guldana, are obtaining their Master's Degree in International Policy and Development (IPD). While engaging in a casual conversation with the rest of the team, they enthusiastically voiced the following:

"I restarted the MUN club, then Danny Pavitt and I started working together in the 2nd semester, and now here we are! But I started doing Model UN in 2004 (!) Like every Model UN conference, I look forward to the moment when I see the students change from nervous wrecks to confident and excited individuals in the span of just a few hours. There is a moment when you see that they just got it. That's why I keep doing it... You see it in their eyes and smiles every time."

-Brendan Tarnay, MUN coordinator and consultant who is obtaining a Master's Degree in IPD

"My girlfriend is an NPTS student at MIIS and was originally going to be a proctor.... something came up.... I filled in. Been coming back ever since. I'm looking forward to having fun and helping to inspire some critical thinking."

-Dan Schrum, a Communications AAT at MPC

"I got involved with MUN Lyceum through the MIIS UN club. I look forward to interacting with the youngsters and assist in helping them understand how international communication platforms, like the UN work." 

-By Malvya Chintakindi, who is obtaining a Masters in IPD

 "I got involved with Lyceum MUN because Addy (assistant program coordinator) told me they were still looking for someone, and I did Model UN my senior year in undergrad and participated in the regional conference in Vegas as well as the conference in NY. I'm really interested in seeing how their speeches are. Am also looking forward to being on the other side for once, since the only other times I've participated in a MUN conference, I've been a delegate. It will be interesting to be a chair."

-Monique Rao, who is obtaining a Master's Degree in IPD

"I'm excited to help everyone have a good time!"

-Stephen Doolittle, who is obtaining a Master's Degree of Public Administration.

"I am Jacques Belval, studying International Policy & Development as well as Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies. My position is lead chair of the General Assembly. I had the privilege of co-chairing last year’s Lyceum MUN with Brendan Tarnay which is how I became involved. I am looking forward to helping the middle schoolers get familiar with UN practices and hopefully put them on a continued path to staying involved with the club throughout high school and college."

Thank you MUN Team for sharing your UN journey, your excitement in working with Middle School students, and your continued support to the Lyceum of Monterey County.

Pictures below (Left to Right) are Dan, Monique, Jacques and Malvya.