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Q&A With Executive Director David Perry

Q&A with Executive Director David Perry

1) How long have you been directing the Model United Nations of the Far West conference? I have been serving as the Executive Director since 2020, but joined staff of the organization in 2014. I was a student delegate from 2009 until 2012 and fell in love with MUNFW so it has been a real privilege to be able to serve the organization since graduating.

2) How many of those years has the conference been done virtually? Conference went virtual with the pandemic, so while we had to postpone the 2020 conference due to COVID, we have been hosting the conference virtually since last year. We are all very excited to move back to an in person format soon!

3) Are there any aspects that seem to be more challenging in a virtual conference context? Are there any aspects that are easier done virtually? It was definitely a challenge figuring out how to transition all of the work we used to do in committee virtually, but we spent the year in between the time we postponed until last year developing tools that would facilitate the virtual work. One good thing that has come out of the move to a virtual format has been our discovering how we can continue to use some of the tools we developed when we go back to an in-person format, which will help us be more sustainable as an organization and not rely on paper and other supplies that were so central to our committee work in years past.

4) When do you anticipate the conference will be held in person? It is our hope and plan to host in person next year! While we want all of our delegates to know that we prioritize their health and safety above everything else, we are currently planning next year’s conference with the goal that it will be face to face in San Francisco once again!

5) Do you have experience working with the United Nations? I actually did an internship with the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations in between my undergraduate and graduate years. I worked with the Mission’s Human Rights and Development teams as a policy intern working on the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Population Development. I spent a lot of long hours in negotiating rooms at EU and UN headquarters and that experience helped to inform some of the processes we have brought to the conference in recent years.

6) Finally, at the opening plenary session, guest speaker, Erin J Clancy gave a piece of advice to the young students who are interested in pursuing a delegate career that they should keep coming back to Model United Nations of the Far West. What would your piece of advice be for such students? I think that staying involved and finding people who are willing to mentor you and connect you to the kinds of work you want to pursue is really vital. That is really helped by reaching out to people in the organizations you interact with, like MUNFW, and seeing how you can leverage those experiences into further opportunities that show people how your skills and passions intersect.

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