Through their persistent efforts, Trinity students have revived the College’s Model United Nations Club after it was dormant for several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club’s recent success at conferences can be attributed to the hard work of a determined group of student leaders. The current president, Alexandra Torres ’26, helped bring Trinity’s Model UN back to life by recruiting a brand new team and re-forming the club’s executive board. “It was definitely challenging, but I am very proud of how far we have gotten in less than a year,” said Torres.

Model UN teaches students how to understand current political and human rights issues, debate and represent different positions, and articulate complex arguments, all of which are skills applicable to various fields. In advance of conferences, each member in attendance is assigned a different country and topic. Each participant must then research how their country would handle that particular issue, and must evaluate both their country’s historical background and current events in order to represent it accurately and productively at the conference.

Despite this year being their first season back, the club has already seen success in conferences. Earlier this semester, the team attended the 2024 Harvard National Model United Nations session, where Charlotte DeSimone ’27, the Trinity club’s secretary, won the Diplomatic Commendation Award for her exceptional performance in her committee. This award is granted to an individual with noteworthy debating skills.

Torres added, “My committee in that last competition was a crisis one, meaning that you have to compete in a fake scenario setting, and my topic was a supposed ‘zombie virus’ spreading across the globe. We had to come up with feasible solutions such as creating a new United Nations body to tackle the crisis, sharing information on weaponry to kill the zombies, and creating safe zones for civilians to seek refuge.”

Trinity College Model United Nations Club
Trinity College Model United Nations Club members (l-r) Cate Griffin ’27, Virginia Johnson ’26, Charlotte Desimone ’27, Alexandra Torres ’26, Sebastian Espinoza ’26, and Andreia Soares ’27 in New York City after the NYU Model UN Conference.

This month, the team attended a conference at New York University. At this conference, the team won the Outstanding Delegate Award, which was granted to Torres for her representation of China on the Security Council. Most of their members were on crisis committees at this particular conference—one as a Russian commander in the Cold War and two as lieutenants from Iceland and the United Kingdom in the Cod Wars, which were fought over fishing rights in the North Atlantic.

The club discusses a variety of issues in both conferences and weekly meetings, including the reforming of the veto power, women’s rights, peacekeeping operations, AI in weaponry, and more. Hermeline Berteloot ’27, the public relations executive of the club, said, “We encourage all students to voice their opinions in a well-structured and respectful way. MUN understands that it isn’t always easy to talk about these issues, and we hope to create a safe space for everyone to take part in the conversation.”

The skills that students develop in this club are applicable to numerous areas of study, and students are able to apply knowledge from classes at Trinity to the work done in Model UN. “While I am not a political science major, my anthropology class has taught me to think holistically, which is important when debating against many other countries,” said Berteloot. “Any classes that have taught me how to conduct thorough research, like my Community Action Gateway Program, have helped me develop important skills to be efficient and successful during conferences.”

Trinity College Model United Nations Club
Trinity received the Outstanding Delegate Award at the NYU Model UN Conference.

The current advisor for the club is Reo Matsuzaki, associate professor of political science, who said that the achievements of the students this year is especially notable, given that Trinity had not participated in Model UN conferences in several years. “The students have worked hard to get the Model United Nations Club going again,” he said, “and it fits so well with the mission of the College.”

As for the future of the club, its current members have many goals for the upcoming years, including continuing to grow as a team. “Our club is only getting started,” said Torres. “We plan on increasing the number of conferences to attend for the next year, and our main goal is to be able to host a national conference at Trinity itself. We want to increase the number of club members and to bring more speakers to the school.”

To learn more about Model UN at Trinity, click here.