Like many, I was attracted to the glamour of Model UN. Of course, I ultimately chose to do Model UN for the academic experience and the intellectual stimulation. But the glamour of it all was certainly appealing. I could travel and attend conferences at world-renowned universities? I could dress up like a diplomat myself? These aspects of Model UN were all very exciting to me at the time I joined Model UN as a freshman in high school, and even now, continue to excite me as a delegate on the collegiate circuit. These aspects of Model UN, in addition to the educational aspect, continue to draw in many high school delegates throughout the world.

At the same time, however, it is easy to forget that the educational opportunity of Model UN comes at a cost. Conference fees only for a delegation of about ten students can add up to somewhere around one grand, and transportation, depending on where a delegate comes from to attend a conference, can be quite costly. Since food is usually not provided at conferences, a delegate’s budget must also account for food. And factor in the other incidentals a delegate may incur while attending a conference; as we all know, those coffee runs throughout the conference add up. Some of us are fortunate that funding is never an issue and that there is little to worry about. But for others, finances can become a challenge to engaging in the educational opportunity of Model UN.

Among other issues on the high school circuit, increasing financial aid for delegates and their delegations is a current demand that needs to be met. By increasing financial aid, Model UN can become a resource for students of all different backgrounds and experiences. Although fundraising on a school or club’s part can help, many times, it proves barely sufficient. What the high school circuit needs is for its conferences to increase resources and do their best to make attending a conference a reality. And by doing so, high school conferences around the circuit can continue to expand and diversify the audience Model UN caters to.

YMUN, Yale’s high school conference every January, is one conference on the high school circuit that has been trying to fulfill this need. Although YMUN has offered Financial Aid in the past, YMUN piloted the BreakingBoundaries Award for its thirty-ninth session. The BreakingBoundaries Award fully funded a small delegation of five students and their advisor from New York to attend YMUN for the first time. The award recipients were new to MUN, and had worked very hard to build MUN at their school. Keeping in mind their hard work and determination, YMUN wanted to offer them the opportunity to experience Model UN, Yale, and meeting others. I had the pleasure of meeting the BreakingBoundaries winners through my position as Assistant Secretary-General of Delegations for YMUN, and I’d say meeting and connecting with them was the highlight of my conference experience. Their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn was contagious, and reminded me how powerful Model UN could be. Because of the success of the BreakingBoundaries Award and because of YMUN’s continued commitment to financial aid, YMUN has expanded its overall Financial Aid Program for this year. YMUN XL Financial Aid offers three options: the BreakingBoundaries Award, Financial Aid for Individual Delegates and Financial Aid for Delegations.

YMUN XL is just months away, and for its fortieth session, the YMUN Secretariat has committed itself to providing the best conference yet. It will be a weekend full of opportunity for new and old delegates alike. YMUN is offering a range of new committees, an improved advisor experience, and a new Global Exchange Program. Ultimately, however, it will be a time to celebrate the educational value of Model UN, and the opportunity to learn from one another, no matter where we come from.

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