WHS junior earns prestigious honor at Model United Nations


Photo courtesy of Justin Anderson

Anderson and fellow Officer Alison Walsh at the 2020 Model United Nations Conference at Hershey, PA

WHS junior Justin Anderson was elected as Secretary General of the Greater Philadelphia YMCA Model United Nations for 2021-2022 on Jan.10. This marks the first time in over a decade that a student from WHS will hold the title of Secretary General. 

WHS MUN Advisor David Della Fera said, “In [Justin’s] years at MUN and YAG he has shown himself to be a capable and dependable leader, and he sets a great example for delegates in both conferences. I think students throughout MUN recognized his experience, his ability, and his amiability, all necessary qualities to run such a challenging and demanding program.”

The Secretary General is the highest position of student leadership within MUN. This position is responsible for leading the student leadership group of the MUN program, serving as a resource for program participants, directing student-led initiatives and communicating with program staff to help plan and organize the YMCA MUN conference in Jan. 2022. 

“I think it’s really cool to have someone be able to advocate and give Westfield any updates about conference first-hand so we don’t have to worry about having a chain of contact about MUN,” said Anderson.

Anderson began his run for Secretary General on Dec. 6 as one of six candidates. In his campaign Instagram @justin4secgen, Anderson laid out his platform and campaigned to the students who were attending the conference. 

“I would say my platform focused on small, practical changes to enhance the experience of delegates at conferences,” said Anderson.

On Jan. 5, Anderson and his fellow candidates had a chance to speak directly to the student delegates about their platform and what they would do to make the 2022 MUN conference the best it can be; after this speech, Anderson was one of just two candidates remaining. On Jan. 7, Anderson participated in one final debate where he was asked questions about his leadership experience and to further clarify his platform.  After this debate, the delegates were given 24 hours to vote, and Anderson was officially announced as Secretary General during the conference’s closing ceremony on Jan. 10. 

Anderson has been a part of the MUN officer corps for the past two years and feels that this experience will be beneficial to him in his new position.

“All of the people that I’ve met have been so inspiring that it kind of makes you want to be that for someone else and give back,” said Anderson. “I’ve definitely seen a lot about what the assignments are and what things need to get done for conference so I can definitely use that to help lead this year.”

In his time as a MUN officer, Anderson worked closely with the YMCA MUN staff, having constant communication and showing strong leadership within the program. The staff is confident that he will excel in the Secretary General position. 

Corrien Elmore-Stratton, Executive Director of the Great Philadelphia YMCA said, “Justin has been an asset to our Officer Corps and he has proven that he is ready to take on a larger leadership role. I have complete confidence that he will be the innovative leader and role model that our program will most certainly need in 2021-22.”

His experience as an officer has also given Anderson the opportunity to work with some incredible student leaders who have helped guide him through MUN and have given him the assurance that he will be strong for the Secretary General position.

“From what I have seen of Justin as a delegate and an officer, he is incredibly driven and extremely dedicated,” said 2021 Model UN Secretary General Selam Ambaw. “2021 will be guided by a [student leadership group] led by a Secretary General who brings out the best in people, from his delegates to his fellow officers.”

Anderson hopes that his role as Secretary General will inspire other WHS students to join MUN and make the most out of the incredible program.

“There are so many ways to further your journey in MUN. So I think each student can kind of take out of it what they put into it,” said Anderson.