This week, The Ambassador talked with Alex Kaplan, Secretary-General of ILMUNC XXXIII, and Cynthia Ding, Director-General of ILMUNC XXXIII.
The Ambassador: What has been a lesson that ILMUNC has taught you?
AK: There are definitely a ton of lessons that I’ve learned from my time on ILMUNC. If I had to pick just one, I’ve realized how important it is to enjoy your time on any branch of the IAA before it is too late. Especially on the ILMUNC Secretariat, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work that is required to put on a successful conference. Soon enough, you’ll be a washed up Sec-Gen/Exec member with a ton of nostalgia about the past three years. Don’t forget to enjoy every moment!
The Ambassador: What was the most difficult challenge you dealt with on the ILMUNC Secretariat?
AK: This year’s transition to the Marriott Hotel was definitely a doozy. Our team worked so hard to make sure that the transition worked out without any issues, and I think this year’s success at the Marriott is really our greatest achievement. I’m so proud of everyone who has been involved in making the Marriott our conference’s new home. We have lots of advice about how to make conference at the Marriott even better next year—let next year’s Secretariat know if you have any ideas as well!
The Ambassador: Name someone in the IAA that you admire
AK: Cynthia Ding!!!!! I couldn’t have asked for a better Director-General for this year’s conference. As I mentioned at ILMUNC’s Closing Ceremonies, Cynthia has an amazing ability to bring our entire Secretariat together as a true family, while still being able to manage the myriad of responsibilities that are required of any DG. From being on the Secretariat for almost 4 years now, Cynthia has a really unique perspective and was able to always push us to do our absolute best during conference this year. She’s one of my best friends and I can’t believe our time on ILMUNC is over. Also pls ask her if she is a good dancer, lmk what she says.
The Ambassador: What is your funniest memory in ILMUNC?
AK: At 3:00AM on Friday night of this year’s conference, it was literally just me and the rest of our Upper Sec (Eric, Cynthia, Mario, and Jenny) in the Operations Room at the Marriott, and we were running on 3 consecutive nights of less than 3 hours of sleep. At a certain point Eric just started flailing his arms and making really loud screeching noises during our Upper Sec meeting. We all just started bursting out laughing (/crying?) for a good 15 minutes while Eric continued to do what can only be described as a velociraptor impersonation. All of the midnight crisis USGs and ASGs kept walking into Ops and immediately walking out in horror of what we had become… It was hilarious. We need help.
The Ambassador: Do you have a message for any freshmen in the IAA?
AK: Explore all of the opportunities that the IAA has to offer. Many people in the IAA come in with a one-track mind—they’ll join a branch, stay on it for 3 years, move to x y z position, go to this conference, etc., etc. However, I think the coolest thing about the IAA is how many different opportunities you have available to you. Apply for an international conference, go to a PIRC visit, join on as an ASG as a sophomore, or anything else! It’s really never too late to get involved in this club, so I’d highly encourage any freshmen to not be discouraged if their “grand vision” for themselves in the IAA doesn’t come to fruition. There’s a place here for everyone!
The Ambassador: If you were an animal what you be?
AK: A llama.
The Ambassador: What is the best restaurant in Philly?
AK: Almaz Cafe. I love Ethiopian food, and everyone should try this restaurant. It’s right in Rittenhouse so it’s an easy walk from campus, and it’s pretty cheap. Highly recommend, 10/10, objectively great, etc.