California High School’s Model United Nations (CondorMUN) program is giving students a real-world perspective on global issues and allowing them the opportunity to learn the importance of diplomacy by serving as delegates, role-playing and writing position papers on a diverse array of topics such as maritime piracy and mental health in humanitarian crises.
Available as an afterschool extracurricular since 2007, Condor M.U.N. has increased its profile among southern California M.U.N. programs, with Cal High adding an AP Comparative Government class compatible with MUN research areas and boosting its M.U.N. club membership enough so that Cal High could host its first Condor M.U.N. conference in December 2023.
The program is coordinated by Cal High social science teachers Sean Reagan and James Palmer. Cal High students who have participated have gone on to such prestigious universities as UCLA, Harvard, UC Berkeley, NYU and Stanford.
“Our M.U.N. members were really excited to host the conference this year, which we are hoping can be an annual campus event,” Reagan said. “Model U.N. helps our students in so many ways. They learn about global issues, bolster their public speaking skills, travel the country and meet highly motivated students like themselves.”
Cal High’s M.U.N. team, which is open to all students including incoming freshmen, travels to several events a year, including local conferences in the South Bay and Los Alamitos, state conferences at UC Davis, and national conferences such as the Washington Area Model United Nations Conference (WAMUNC), to be held March 21-24 in Washington D.C. this year. The trips are paid for by parent donations and fundraising.
At the CondorMUN December conference, Cal High student delegates hosted more than 200 students from 13 Southern California schools. M.U.N. committees for the day included “Corruption in Olympic Sports,” “Biological Weapons,” “Mining for Rare Metals in Outer Space,” and “Regulating Neocolonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa.” The conference included a “fantasy” topic created by Cal High delegates, “Breaking Dawn: The Cold War,” based on the movie “Twilight.”
Each topic is accompanied by a synopsis that includes an opening letter from the Lead Chair and sections detailing the topic background, past actions, possible solutions and questions to consider.
Cal High senior Christian Herrera has been a Condor M.U.N. member for three years and is currently enrolled in AP Comparative Government. Herrera served on CondorMUN’s crisis staff committee during the conference and said he feels that MUN has helped to strengthen his adaptability and made him more knowledgeable about global issues.
“MUN has given me more of a real-world perspective and I realize how fortunate I am,” Herrera said. “It has also given me a better understanding of what’s going on in the world. It’s a good fit for me. I’d like to see more students enroll at Cal High just to be in the Condor M.U.N..”
Reagan’s daughter, Cal High senior Madeleine Reagan, is co-president of the M.U.N. this year, along with junior Katy Tinoco. Madeleine served as the Secretary-General of Public Affairs at the CondorMUN conference. Joining MUN as a freshman, Madeleine credits M.U.N. for helping her break out of her shell and giving her the confidence to eventually become a leader for the team.
“I was definitely shy when I first joined the club and I wasn’t enjoying it,” Madeleine said. “But now I love everything about M.U.N., the focus on diplomacy, the improv speaking and icebreakers, and especially the travel, meeting new people, touring college campuses and seeing new cities. The fact that I am now president shows just how much I have grown.”
Both Herrera and Madeleine have gained so much from their Model UN experiences that it has positively affected their college plans and majors. After three years in M.U.N., Herrera is looking to major in political science. After Madeleine visited Northeastern University in Boston during an M.U.N. trip, she decided to apply, proof that M.U.N. helps students develop a global mindset.
“The Cal High Model UN program is one of our most popular clubs and has helped so many Condors receive a thorough understanding of what ambassadors and diplomats are and how important they are to maintaining world peace,” Cal High Principal Bill Schloss said. “Congratulations to Sean and James for their success in connecting students with this essential program.”
WUHSD_MODELUN1: California High School Model United Nations members dress for success prior their M.U.N. conference in December. Since 2007, Cal High’s MUN program has helped Condor students gain an understanding of global issues. Cal High MUN members have gone on to prestigious universities such as UCLA, Harvard, UC Berkeley, NYU and Stanford.
WUHSD_MODELUN2: California High School Model United Nations members gather at the conclusion of the CondorMUN Conference, held in December 2023.