"It was a training ground.”
Michael was first exposed to model UN during his high school years when he participated as a delegate in the Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly (SOMA), held at the University of Toronto. He was a frosh leader in his second year of study and was recruited to join NAMUN. At his first conference in 2008, Michael contributed to the administrative team as part of the conference services staff. In 2009 and 2010, he joined the Secretariat and continued to handle the administrative side of the conference. After he graduated from U of T, he served on the Board of Directors for a few years, continuing to help out with the conference in various ways.
“I met lots of people who had the same interests,” said Michael. He vividly remembers his Hart House farm trip with his NAMUN friends in the fall of 2010. “A big part of NAMUN for me was relationship building,” he added.
Originally, Michael studied international relations at U of T, but later switched to employment relations. After he graduated, he worked for the federal government for two years and is now working for TD Canada Trust.
When she first discovered NAMUN in 2000, Teresa was thrilled that she could continue her love for model UN. However, she soon discovered that NAMUN was more that just a model UN conference she organized, but a valuable asset she still treasures to this day. She participated in her first NAMUN conference as a moderator and became the Secretary General in 2002.
“You really bonded with people over the year. Every SG has a unique relationship with her staff. You bond with the people in your cohorts. You make some really good friends…It’s a monumental task in your 20s,” said Teresa.
In addition to the invaluable friendship that has stayed with her throughout the years, Teresa also found her passions while organizing the conference.
“You discover a lot about yourself. You learn how to be a grown-up even in a mock-situation," she said. "It was a training ground.”
NAMUN motivated her to pursue teacher education and later an MD degree.
“I love editing and helping people write better…I fell in love with multitasking. I knew at that moment that I wanted to triage. NAMUN gave me the skill set that is most important for balancing multiple catastrophes at a time.”
After graduating from U of T, Teresa joined a teacher training program for a year. She subsequently went to the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University and completed her ER residency at McMaster University. In addition to being an emergency physician, she is also an Associate Professor at McMaster University.
“I have about 17 jobs. It’s no different from when I was SG.”
David first joined NAMUN in 2003 and served as the Secretary General in 2005. Conference planning was a lot more challenging back then without social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
“We couldn’t get in touch with people via Facebook,” said David. “I remember searching for Model UN groups on Yahoo! Groups.” Nevertheless, organizing NAMUN has become one of his most rewarding experiences.
“It was amazing to see people who were such incredible models of professionalism and good nature. It’s really good to be surrounded by these people…[The conference] made me feel really gratified that people had good experiences.”
David pursed a degree in Canadian studies and history during his time at U of T. After graduation, he went to Ottawa to complete a Master’s degree in public administration. He has also worked for multiple government organizations, including Industry Canada and the Ministry of Health. He said his three-year experience at the Ministry of Finance is his “most NAMUN-like experience,” as it involves fiscal planning and budget drafting. He is currently manager of Capital Programs with the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment / Ministry of Research and Innovation.
Jon joined NAMUN as a moderator in 2001. He continued to participate in the conference as part of the Secretariat until 2005, after which he served as president of the Board of Directors. For Jon, NAMUN was a huge influence.
“When we were working on Procedures for the General Assemblies…thinking about how we can make people understand minute details inspired me to go to teacher’s college. NAMUN also gave me the skills for problem solving.”
During his interview with the Advancement Officer at U of T, Jon was asked whether he could work through the U of T bureaucracy, “I thought to myself, ‘this is nothing compared to NAMUN. As students we dealt with office arrangement all the time.’”
After finishing his degree in International Relations and Canadian Studies, Jon started an internship in the advancement office after graduation. He then went to teacher’s college, and taught part time at Upper Canada College. He now works a full time job as a manager of Young Alumni and Student Outreach and strives to get young alumni involved in U of T after graduation.
Stephanie joined NAMUN as the editor of The Diplomat, the conference newspaper before it was replaced by The Emissary. In 2005, Stephanie co-chaired the historical International Court of Justice committee and became the Chairman of the Board of Director in 2006.
“NAMUN prepared me more for the adult world than anything in university. When people who did not know what NAMUN was asked me to explain the conference, I tell them it’s a crash course in event planning. You have 300 people coming. You book multiple rooms over five days. You don’t understand what we did over here.” Stephanie still keeps in touch with all her NAMUN friends.
“I’ve got friends everywhere now. You’ve been in the trenches together. You’ve been through a war you’ll never forget that.”
Stephanie studied history, English, and anthropology at U of T. She then completed a master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. While in England, she decided that she really wanted to pursue a career in British television. She moved to London and lived there for four years while she slowly built up her career. Now she has moved back to Toronto and continues her career in the TV industry.