The Powerful Women Behind BarMUN Part 2: Kaitlyn Perreault

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 run through the 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 the opportunity to be an ACD 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 MCC, 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 BarMUN (a job which included very little sleep). During the conference, she was as calm as I’d ever seen anyone, which was super impressive.

A few days after the conference, I had the to opportunity to sit down with each of these women and reflect on their experiences from this year’s BarMUN and MUN throughout their lives. In my interview with Kaitlyn I found out a lot about her passions and opinions on pressing world issues. 

Name: Kaitlyn Perreault (above center)

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Year: 2018

Major: Double major in International Relations and Psychology

Fun fact: I was a vegetarian for 12 years based solely on a dare

Favorite thing about Boston: History is definitely my favorite thing about Boston.

 

When was your first experience with MUN?

In high school, I helped start the club.

 

What was your first BU BarMUN experience?

Freshman year I was a crisis staffer. I barely applied and was shaking throughout the entire interview, but when I got to the conference it was the first time I felt like I fit in anywhere at college. I fell in love with it.

 

What have your various BarMUN roles been?

Crisis staffer freshman year, HCC of BarMUN sophomore year, secretary-general this year. I also compete on the collegiate team and I’m on the e-board for the International Affairs Association.

 

What made you decide to get involved in BarMUN?

Freshman year I was just looking for something to do in college. I didn’t think I wanted it to be MUN, but it was something I knew how to do. After crisis staffing, the application to be on secretariat came out, and I realized MUN made me feel like I was home at BU. Why would I give that up?

 

What was it like being the secretary general?

A lot of work. Combined, I’ve put two years of my life into being the chief-of-staff between the secretariat and secretary general. I’ve worked on that every day for two consecutive years. It was a lot harder than I ever expected it to be. It’s a big job with a lot to do because as secretary general everything is your job. Everything that happens you have to make sure happens well and you have to be the person who takes the fall if things go wrong. Issues always come up, and it's a big responsibility havings to deal with those issues. But, I’m proud of the conference I put on. 

 

How much sleep did you get leading up to the conference and during?

No. Just no.

 

If you could create any committee what would it be?

My ideal committee would be Ad Hoc this year (Sons of Liberty). It was the first time we got to take a committee into the city and go to historic sights. We got to assess the questions of freedom and independence and what they actually mean, which was exciting. The Revolution was a big thing we hit on, and I just love working with historical committees.

 

What is your ideal crisis and solution?

Massive public unrest against a government trying to stay in power and seeing the different ways that government can respond.

 

What is your favorite thing about BarMUN?

It's cliché, but it brings people together. When I looked out at opening ceremonies, there were over 550 people involved from five different countries, a lot from BU and a lot from everywhere else. It was really cool just to bring them all together. 

Are you excited for BosMUN?

This year I’m going abroad, so I won't be participating. But I’ve participated in the past and loved it.

 

What have your roles been at BosMUN?

I’ve been a chair for committees the last two years.

 

What is your favorite MUN memory?

I was competing in a committee that was dealing with Korean officials from North and South Korea to create peace. My job was really peace-oriented. By the end of the conference, we got three resolutions passed in succession and they were all mine. I stayed standing in front of the room for a good hour because I had written all of these and was presenting them. I was so proud that I could effect committee in such a big way. I was also sitting next to someone who was portraying Kim Jong-un’s sister and they took it to the extreme with reactions. She had this horrible wig from CVS and a tiara and was just super over the top.

 

What inspired this year’s theme?

BarMUN Seven’s theme was War and Peace, BarMUN Eight’s theme was A World Apart and BarMUN Nine’s was Towards Peace. It was only natural to go the other side of that coin for this year. The more I was thinking about it, I realized that’s why I care about Model UN. It’s always fun, but I do think its really cool to get 550 people from around the world together to talk about world issues and think critically about where we can go in the future. We gear towards peaceful solutions, and the problems we faced were really, really important to me. Focusing on a peaceful resolution at the end of the day was important. Hearing the opening speaker’s speeches about their own peace efforts set a really cool tone for the conference that its worth pursuing these efforts, and not just saying we want them. We have to try and solve these problems because peace is worth moving towards.

 

What is your favorite FunMUN experience?

This year on the Coastal Divides committee, one of their big crisis updates was an enormous concert venue. We took them into the auditorium and had lights and music, and for 40 minutes the delegates had a rap battle.

 

What was your favorite committee from this year?

Sons of Liberty because of the history surrounding it.

 

Are there any last things you’d like to add?

I think both Raina and I faced challenges being women in BarMUN. We were the ones who were interviewing, hiring and managing aggressive upperclassmen. MUN in general is usually very male-dominated and its hard to be a woman who’s in power there. But in the end, the community at BU was very respectful about it. To get through some of the gender divides was very cool.

 

BarMUN was an amazing opportunity for me and I highly recommend it for anyone who's interested in international relations, foreign policy, debate, just 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, but Raina and Kate were so patient with me. 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. And they did it all so calmly. They made two of the most difficult jobs look so easy and I commend and admire them for it. I want to thank Raina and Kate for letting me interview them and for coordinating an amazing BarMUN.

 

Disclaimer: This is a two-part article. You can read the first part here