Interview With YUNMUN XXXIV Secretary General 

By: Aaron Shaykevich  |  March 27, 2024

By Aaron Shaykevich, Editor-in-Chief

On February 11-13, 2024, Yeshiva University hosted its 34th annual Model UN conference (YUNMUN). The YU Observer is highlighting Shayna Kahane, the Secretary General of YUNMUN XXXIV.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you became involved in YUNMUN?

Hi, my name is Shayna Kahane. I am from Memphis, TN, and attended the Margolin Hebrew Academy for high school, during which I participated in my first four YUNMUN conferences. After high school, I attended MMY in Israel for a year and a half. Upon coming to Stern in the spring of 2023, I was honored to serve as the Assistant Chair of UNEP in YUNMUN XXXII. Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to be an undersecretary. And this year, this past YUNMUN was actually my 7th conference!

How do you see YUNMUN evolving and growing in the future?

One of the things that I find amazing about YUNMUN is that it is much more than just a Model UN conference. For instance, on the first day of the conference, we had a Chessed event where delegates wrote letters to soldiers in Israel. I believe this truly elevated the conference, and I hope such opportunities will continue in future years.

What advice do you have for individuals who are interested in pursuing leadership roles in YUNMUN or other similar events?

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. YU has so many amazing leadership opportunities, including YUNMUN, but you need to take the step to reach out and join in order to be a part of it all!

Can you share the funniest experience you’ve had as Secretary General?

This year was one of the craziest YUNMUNs I have ever been a part of. I’d probably say the highlight was watching a Chair give a haircut in the middle of the committee session. Shoutout to Benny Klein, Steven Gallitzer, and CSTD!

Can you describe a particularly memorable moment from your time as Secretary General of YUNMUN?

One of the most memorable moments from my time as Secretary General was probably right after the Opening Ceremonies. As I watched everyone enter their committee sessions, it hit me that we were actually here, hosting the conference. Seeing the delegates and chairs excitedly begin their first committee sessions, I just felt honored and proud to have been a part of it all.

What has been your proudest moment as Secretary General?

My proudest moment during the conference was actually during the Security Council committee’s crisis. As part of their crisis scavenger hunt, they were asked to take a picture of me smiling, and yet, I had been told by the chair [author’s note: that was me!] not to smile under any circumstances. After about an hour of completing hilarious tasks, the delegates were able to make me laugh and take a picture. But I am proud that I was able to hold out for that long!

Have you had any interesting interactions with delegates, members of the YUNMUN staff, or YU faculty, that you would like to share?

Oh, I had soooo many interactions I can’t even begin to remember them all. One of my favorites, in particular, was an interpretive dance performed for me by the delegate from Venezuela, depicting its origins and political development.

Anything else you can share?

I just wanted to, again, thank everyone who put time and energy into the conference. It was because of all of your hard work, energy, dedication, and passion that the conference was so amazing. Thank you for making my last YUNMUN one that I will never forget.