Spencer Babcock ’17 traveled to Japan earlier this fall to continue Dana Hall’s partnership with Tokyo Jogakkan School (TJK) by supporting their growing Model UN (MUN) program.
Babcock, who was member of Dana Hall’s MUN team all four years of her high school career, stayed with the family of an 8th grade student. In the week before the conference, she helped the 11th graders prepare their resolutions and helped the 10th grade press corps understand the issues relevant to each region and committee.
“It was amazing,” Babcock said of the experience. “I really appreciated being able to speak about the real-world impact of [the students’] ideas, and was impressed with their ability to do all of this while speaking a second language the whole time. I absolutely hope to go back and work with them and their teachers again!”
This year, each student represented one country, and they worked in both regional groups (Americas, Europe and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania) and committees (Infrastructure, Extreme Weather, Health, Food Security, and Biodiversity). The committees were able to combine resolutions and get two passed on Saturday at the conference, and country speeches were given between caucuses.
According to Heather Panahi, Social Studies teacher and former MUN advisor, Babcock was chosen for this opportunity because she’s a “fierce competitor, who excelled in all areas of the program, but particularly in terms of research, debate and collaborative problem solving” during her time as a Dana Hall MUN delegate. Babcock’s skills aided the Dana Hall team in receiving a national ranking, in addition to earning recognition at some of the country’s most competitive conferences, including Columbia University and Dartmouth College.
“After three years of having only virtual support [video letters, feedback on position papers and resolutions], having Spencer with us in person this year reminded us of the impact of live interpersonal communication,” said Crystal Brunelli, a teacher in TJK’s international studies program and former Dana Hall faculty member who has been a key player in growing the relationship between the two schools. “Her presence gave the students a sense of connection to the world beyond our school. Yes, the conference was held within our school, but Spencer reminded us that Model UN is bigger than just one school.”