Model UN fosters broadened worldview

Elsa Anderson, Staff Reporter

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Our relationship with other countries is very important. The United Nations (UN) play a very large role in the collaboration of world nations to solve problems from hunger to poverty, to peacekeeping operations. Several students have shown an interest in furthering their knowledge of world issues at Model UN, a club that meets every other Monday in Mr. Thompson’s room.

“A lot of people get intimidated by it because they think you have to know a lot about stuff beforehand, but at a normal meeting, you come in and get a packet or we watch a video or something about a world issue or something the UN is talking about. It’s really interesting,” senior Model UN Secretary Sonja Cox-Raman said. “Then we talk about it a little bit and then we go into a formal discussion and you represent a country.”

Chris Holland

There is a specific way of speaking that follows the rules that are in place at UN meetings. Members speak in third person on behalf of the country they are representing.

“Sometimes [at meetings, officers] just go and explain rules or talk about things the actual UN is doing,” junior Samantha Goldstein said. “But most of the [meetings] I’ve gone to they’ll just kind of do a mini conference, a brief one, not a super big issue and we’ll just come up with one resolution.”

Secretary General of the club (similar to president) Sammy Barwell has been in Model UN all four years of high school. “[I joined] freshman year. I heard an announcement about the club and it sounded like something I was interested in because I was interested in learning more about the world.”

The issues discussed vary based on current world events and major issues. “This year the big [issues] that we’ve discussed are refugees, that’s a big one right now in the world, mostly in the Middle East. Climate change is always a big one,” Barwell said. “And then we usually have some room for people to suggest ideas that they want to talk about so we’ve done, like last year and the year before, we did a little bit on Ebola and the Zika virus because people wanted to do health. Or we’ll do women’s rights and education if that’s what people want, so there’s a lot of room for people to choose things that they want to talk about and we’ll create a meeting for that.”

There are two Model UN conferences a year. The school’s club members are able to meet up with other club members from other schools.

“I went to the first one. I think the second one is in the spring and those you just kind of go with Mr. Thompson and you’ll be put in different committees, just like in the real UN,” Goldstein said. “For example, I had to do one where it was all Latin American countries and you’ll be given multiple situations.”

Many members feel that the club has offered them an opportunity to discuss issues that are often overlooked in a typical school setting.

“You gain a big global perspective. I don’t think I’ve had any class at school that really focuses on current events on a global level. I know in government or APUSH you do talk about events in the U.S., but you never really are able to discuss world events that aren’t in the U.S. and I think living in the U.S. you don’t always know issues that are happening in other countries,” Barwell said. “It’s a great way to learn about big issues that are relevant to the world and not just the U.S.”

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