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At model U.N. conference, teens immerse themselves in new cultures and ideas

When people think of February, many different things come to mind; some people think of Valentine’s Day, others think of President’s Day, but a group of Nardin Academy students always think of Model United Nations.

Last Thursday, 21 Nardin students flew to Chicago to spend a weekend discussing the world’s most pressing issues in committees resembling those of the United Nations.

Some 3,000 teens came from around the world to immerse themselves in new cultures and ideas at a conference run by students from the University of Chicago. Some delegates flew in from Los Angeles, some from China, others from Italy, and so many more locations.

Each participating school was assigned a country that all of their students would represent.

Nardin’s delegates represented Brazil in their Model U.N. committees, but other countries represented include the United States, The United Kingdom and Mexico.

Every student who attended the conference spent hours preparing research and speeches in order to be ready for the debates brought forth in committee.

Students also spent time going over the procedures and rules of committee at a Model U.N. conference.

For members of Model U.N., the format of committees and the decorum followed is familiar, but for people who do not know a lot about Model U.N., the process can be confusing.

When broken down, however, the process is much simpler than it first seems.

Model U.N. works in a way very similar to that of the United Nations. There are many different committees that discuss different issues and work to find solutions to these issues. Possible topics may include drug trafficking, nuclear proliferation and pollution, among other things.

Representatives from many different countries are present in committees to express the views and policies of their delegations. Some committees are small, with fewer than 20 countries represented, while others are large, with 100 or more countries present.

Over the course of a few hours or days, representatives from each country must present their views, work with other delegates and ultimately come up with a solution to the given problem.

Written solutions are called "resolutions," and these resolutions must be passed to put an end to a given debate.

Delegates can support a resolution in many ways. Some choose to offer financial aid to help rectify a problem, while others send military or humanitarian forces. Either way, a resolution is composed of more than just one person’s ideas; the views of many different delegates go into one resolution.

Once a resolution is written, the entire committee must vote on it. In order for a resolution to pass, a majority of delegates must vote in favor of the resolution.

This is exactly what students did in Chicago last weekend. Spending nearly 20 hours in committee over the course of 4 days, many resolutions were passed and countless new friendships were created.

Students who attended the conference can not only say they became better researchers, debaters and delegates, but they can also say they now have friends from around the world.

Although the academic work that went into this conference, and the academic achievements that came out of it, are incredibly important for these teenagers, perhaps more important is the new understanding of different cultures, views, and opinions of delegates from around the world.

Sarah Crawford is a sophomore at Nardin Academy.


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