Important terms and acronyms in this article:
BarMUN- Boston Area Model United Nations
BUIAA- Boston University International Affairs Association
ACD- Assistant Crisis Director (that’s me!)
MCC- Modern Crisis Coordinator
HCC- Historical Crisis Coordinator
MUN- Model United Nations
This year, I had the pleasure of participating in BarMUN (Boston Area Model United Nations) run through BUIAA. BarMUN is a four-day conference with participants from around the city of Boston and the world who come to portray world leaders, expert professors and military officials who participate in debates regarding world issues. The theme and goal of this year can be summed up in a quote from the Secretary General Kaitlyn Perreault: “This year, BarMUN’s theme is focused on peace. With the division of the world, full of violence and struggle, there is perhaps no goal more noble and vital than to look for solutions to the numerous conflicts that plague our global community.” Having had the opportunity to be assistant crisis director is something I cherish, and I couldn’t have asked for a better staff to work with.
Two of these lovely staff members were Raina Kadavil, the modern crisis coordinator, and Kaitlyn Perreault, the secretary general. Being the MCC meant Raina was in charge of creating, staffing and overseeing all of the modern committees - and she did a wonderful job. As Secretary General, Kaitlyn was the head of all of BarMUN (a job which I’m sure included very little sleep). During the conference she was as calm as I’d ever seen anyone, which was super impressive given the intensity of the position.
A few days after the conference, I had to opportunity to sit down with each of the staff members to reflect on their experiences from this year’s BarMUN. In my interview with Raina, I found out a lot about not only her MUN experience but also a lot about her as a person.
Name: Raina Kadavil
Hometown: White Planes, NY
Major: International Relations with concentrations in world order, international systems and Middle East/North Africa
Fun fact: I write books
Favorite thing in Boston: I work at the MFA, so that’s definitely one of my favorites. I also love the Wharf because of the ships and the aquarium.
When was your first experience with Model UN?
Raina: In 6th grade, I went to the UN MUN conference. I represented Ethiopia about issues relating to global health care. Following that, I didn’t participate in anything regarding Model UN until my freshman year at BU because the Model UN club at my school shut down.
What was your first BarMUN experience?
Last year I was a staffer for JCC: Pakistan vs Afghanistan.
What have your various MUN roles been?
Freshman year I was a staffer for BarMUN, this year I was MCC for BarMUN, and last year I was an ACD for BosMUN.
What made you decide to get involved in BarMUN?
I had worked in the UN for awhile in high school and when I got to Boston, I was upset I wasn’t gonna be able to do something like that. I was desperate to get involved in something International Relations-related. I found out about BarMUN at Splash and applied and became a staffer.
What was it like being the MCC coordinator?
A lot of fun. I got really close with Tal the HCC (historical crisis coordinator) because he felt my struggle of coordinating everything. It was a huge time commitment for interviews over the summer while I was in Australia and he was in Florida, but I got to know a lot of people throughout the interview process, prep sessions and the actual conference.
How much sleep did you get during the conference.?
The day before about an hour and a half, three hours Thursday, an hour Friday, and two and a half hours Saturday.
If you could create any committee what would it be?
Space Imperialism, which would be the imperial age reflected onto US, Russia, UK, UAE and Japan. Something like going into space and colonizing for minerals.
What is your ideal crisis and solution?
Well for something like ICJ (International Court of Justice) it would have to do with the Congo vs. Uganda case we dealt with this year. We’d have a crisis update about some sort of genocide situation as a human rights issue and the ideal solution would be to work towards peace. I’m kind of a peace junkie and the theme for BarMUN this year was working towards peace.
Favorite thing about BarMUN?
The people. I got so close to the secretariat and Tal, along with previous members of BUIAA. During the conference, I’d ask if they needed anything and they’d respond “No Raina, do you need anything?” It's just a really supportive environment. You get to know what people care about and see people apply their real life experiences to MUN.
Are you excited for BosMUN?
I can’t even tell you how excited I am for BosMUN.
What is your role at BosMUN?
Chair for the Harry Potter committee.
Favorite MUN memory?
As MCC, we had some issues with ICJ and other parts of the conference, but everything just worked out and when we got feedback everyone said we did a stellar job. At one point Tal and I were like, “We just did this thing,” and it was amazing.
Favorite funmun (making fun of Model UN) experience?
Last year at BarMUN, as a crisis update we put a speaker in the committee rooms. The speaker was Krishna, one of the staff members. We started playing Mongolian throat singing, and he dressed up with a judge's wig and graduation robe and pretended he was the Syfy monster Cthulhu and was demanding sacrifices.
What was it like running your first specialized committee?
Interesting. I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I love the ICJ and my goal is to work for them one day. It was really exciting because the cases, especially Uganda vs. Congo, are things I’m learning about. There were some planning issues and the delegates didn’t work out the way we expected them to. But we made it work; the staffing team really rose to the challenge. It was really impressive because it was Michael's first time assistant crisis directing, and Rachel and Rachel’s first time chairing a committee. I couldn’t have asked for a better staff.
(No it's not a mistake, both chairs were named Rachel.)
BarMUN was an amazing opportunity for me and I highly recommend it for anyone who's interested in international relations, foreign policy, debate or simply having an amazing time. It’s stressful and you don’t get a lot of sleep, but it's an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Working with Kate and Raina was an amazing experience. As a freshman, I didn’t really know what I was doing because Model UN at my high school was very different from BarMUN. Raina and Kate were so patient with me and I really look up to them. I know they're both going to make such a difference in the world because of how determined they were to make this conference amazing, even though they were running on no sleep, had to scramble to switch around staff when people couldn’t make it, and had to deal with difficult delegates. They made two of the most difficult jobs look so easy and I commend them and admire them for it. I want to thank Raina and Kate for letting me interview them and for an amazing BarMUN.