Model UN heads to Singapore

Nine students from the Yale Model United Nations will represent the University at the National University of Singapore.
Nine students from the Yale Model United Nations will represent the University at the National University of Singapore. Photo by James Lu.

Though Yale and the National University of Singapore are still discussing plans for the liberal arts college they hope to build together, a group of Elis will visit NUS over spring break.

After winning the Harvard National Model UN this past weekend, the Yale Model United Nations Team is headed to Singapore to compete at a worldwide conference. Nine members of the team will take part in the 20th Annual World Model United Nations Conference, hosted by NUS, and hope to make connections with students and administrators at the school in the process.

“We’re planning on meeting some of the NUS students, who are going to be hosting the conference,” said Eesan Balakumar ’12, head delegate of the team. “We’ll make sure to meet them and get to know them.”

In addition, the team has plans to meet with the Dean of the School of Public Policy at NUS Kishore Mahbubani, who came to Yale in October, as well as a 2007 Yale World Fellow and current member of the Singaporean parliament Penny Low.

Frank Costa ’14, one of the nine students headed to the tournament, said that although the team will not serve as an official liaison between NUS and Yale, he is optimistic that the members of his group can act as ambassadors and represent the University well.

“Hopefully we can do very well to show some students at the National University of Singapore what Yale is all about,” he said, adding that the team is aware of Yale’s long-term stakes in its relationship with Singapore.

Since the trip to Singapore will be expensive, the President’s Office and the Dean’s Office have subsidized the trip. University funds will pay all registration fees for the conference and the cost of lodging in Singapore, as well as a portion of the transportation expenses.

Nina Glickson, assistant to the president and advisor on student affairs, explained that the team’s trip to Singapore is one of a number of student group initiatives University President Richard Levin supports financially.

“He gives some money to different organizations if they’re planning conferences or if they’re doing something special,” Glickson said.

Some team members have also sought and received funding from their residential colleges, and YIRA has helped pay for a large portion of the trip’s cost. Despite outside funding efforts, students will still have anywhere from $800 to $1,100 left to pay out of pocket, Balakumar said.

Although three of the group going to Singapore’s nine members are freshmen, Yale is currently the top-ranked team in the nation, and Costa said he thinks they are capable of performing well in the World Conference.

The world conference is always hosted outside the United States, but the location changes every year, explained Teddy Collins ’13, president of the Yale International Relations Association, the umbrella organization which oversees MUNTY. Though the team did not attend last year, it has participated in the tournament before.

“We actually just this weekend came back from [Harvard], which is basically the de facto national championship,” Balakumar said. “We figured this year it would be important to maintain momentum.”

The conference will take place from March 14-18, and the team will spend the first week of spring break sightseeing in Malaysia.

Comments