By: Jack Ellis
Among the 700 students participating in this year’s Model United Nations are 28 college-aged young adults committed to making the program an unforgettable experience: the secretariat. In a broad sense, a secretariat is “an administrative department of a governmental organization [lead by] a Secretary General,” according to the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary. At the Model United Nations Conference, however, the secretariat does much more than clerical work.
“As a member of the secretariat it is my job to provide research and information [regarding] topic areas,” Xuesan Xiong, ECOSOC Secretariat said.
Prior to the conference, Xiong and other members of the secretariat met with April Valete and Brent Horwart, the Secretary-General and First Undersecretary-General respectively. With their leaders, they became knowledgeable about the different topic areas and created connections within the group. “We are like one big family,” Xiong said.
The different topic areas are specific to each chamber and organ. For example, secretariat Harrison Tiffany is an expert on the topics covered by the Historic Security Council: Escalation of the Vietnam War and Apartheid in South Africa. “insert quote,” Sydney Nelson, President of the Historic Security Council, said. Going above and beyond, Tiffany brought in two additional students to play the role of North Vietnam and South Vietnam in the Escalation of the Vietnam War.
As leaders of the conference, and secretariat, Valete and Horwart focus on every topic and can serve as experts on any area, but formally they approve resolutions, provide assistance to the secretariat and serve as leaders of the conference as a whole.
Contrary to popular belief, the secretariat is not above delegates in terms of rank. “We’re not disciplinarians, we serve at the pleasure of the officers and delegates,” Horwart said, “We provide information, give guidance, present the topics and work before and after the conference to make it the best experience possible.”
This conference provides a new challenge for all involved as there are fewer secretariat than ideal. “They are all wearing many different hats and that’s something I am extremely grateful for,” Horwart said.
One of the members of the secretariat who wears many hats is Taylor Nelson. After _ years as a Model United Nations delegate and _ years as a member of the secretariat, Nelson is the Mondale General Assembly High Commissioner. “The hardest part is all of the running around. Last night [Horwart advised] that we ‘double deodorant’”, said Nelson. “We’re really luck, though because everyone is on top of their game this year which makes our job a little easier.”