Model United Nations program slated to expand next school year
In March, more than two dozen students in the high school’s CIVITAS Club participated in a Model United Nations (UN) conference in New York City. Model UN is an educational simulation centered around a series of programs run internationally with the goals of furthering understanding about the United Nations, educating students about international relations and world issues, and promoting peace and the work of the UN through cooperation and diplomacy. BH-BL students in Model UN prepare all year to participate in the annual conference.
“This year, our school was assigned the country Senegal,” explains high school senior and Model UN participant Mary Hayden.
“The club’s advisors, Mrs. Tolan and Ms. Fay, worked with all of us to help us identify our personal preferences in regards to our research interests and then assigned us to respective committees.”
For instance, Hayden was assigned UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and, like the other committees, she was given two topics to research: finding solutions for housing insecurity for children worldwide and determining ways to increase literacy rates for children. Model UN participants are required to write a position paper about their stance on the topic and support it with research.
At the conference, committee sessions rotated through the speakers list, moderated caucuses, and unmoderated caucuses, which is where some students find themselves contributing to discussions. It was during these sessions that blocs were formed and resolutions were written, explains Hayden.
In addition to the conference, students took a guided tour of the United Nations Headquarters, met and attended presentations by Senegalese UN delegates, visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and dined at an authentic West African restaurant to sample Senegalese cuisine.
The budget proposal includes funding for additional conferences to allow students the opportunity to become more deeply involved in the program.
“Going to New York City for four days for Model UN created the best four days of my life thus far,” says Hayden. “To be able to travel and learn with 30 of my friends and classmates was an invaluable and unforgettable experience. The Model UN conference is so applicable to our lives now because the UN evolves and changes at the same speed that the world does. Therefore, the conference gives students the opportunity to become more fluent on current events and issues while crafting and improving their critical thinking and public speaking skills, simultaneously inspiring them to become a part of worthwhile, positive change. The chance for this program to expand excites me, as students will have additional opportunities to foster these skills and immerse themselves in a different culture through pre-research and the conference. I couldn’t recommend Model UN more and look forward to students continuing to enrich their high school experience through participation in this program.”