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Model United Nations Club Starts Year with Record Number of Students

12 October 2012 admin 1,858 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Some 45 Model United Nations students and club officers gathered on October 8 for the first St. Margaret’s Episcopal School MUN Conference. Upper School Principal Tony Jordan introduced Keynote Speaker and St. Margaret’s new Academic Dean Dr. Jeneen Graham whose remarks focused on a short history of the United Nations and how the skill sets learned during Model United Nations are an integral part of the 21st century learning paradigm.

To understand any complex issue, Dr. Graham stated, “One must think critically – weighing evidence from multiple perspectives. Think about the complexity of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict – where you need to understand culture, religion, economics, history, prejudice, fear, support of other nations and the list could go on forever. Then, once you gather your information, you need to think creatively and solve a problem that for most – has no answer. This is the basis of the United Nations and Model United Nations – working together across boundaries to achieve a peaceful solution.”

Students were assigned to two committees – The World Health Organization [WHO] and the UN International Children‘s Fund [UNICEF], and required to prepare position papers on either water sanitation in developing countries [WHO] or child soldiers [UNICEF]. Position papers require each student to research and formulate remarks regarding their nation’s perspective on the aforementioned topics.

Chairing the WHO was junior Christian Rafla, assisted by senior Max Carr and sophomore Greg Justice. Chairing UNICEF was senior Raffaele Saposhnik. Assisting the Chair were senior David Freed and sophomore Ben Wang. Students debated the topics for some two and a half hours prior to adjourning for lunch. Following lunch, students were recognized with research awards, best delegate awards, outstanding delegate awards and certificate of commendations.

Historically, the training of MUN delegates at St. Margaret’s occurred at novice conferences throughout the school year. But, with more than 50 club members this year, the club officers felt an in-house training event would better prepare our students for off campus conferences. After several planning meetings and coordination with Mr. Jordan, Director of Community Life Lora Allison, and Upper School Administrative Assistant Julie Allen the plan became a reality. The event not only trains students as delegates but also trains the leaders of the MUN Club as chairs, which should help the leaders better understand the entire MUN process. As Dr. Graham stated, “diplomacy resolves conflict before it arises to the level of threat or force,” and the “ability to articulate one’s thoughts or plan – both orally and perhaps in the form of a treaty or agreement allows our students to truly think outside the box.”

 

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