Global Learning

Model U.N. Students Tackle Global Issues

Student members of The Northwest School Model U.N. Interest Group spent Nov. 9-11 holed up in the Sheraton Hotel for the annual Pacific Model United Nations Conference (PACMUN). PACMUN is entirely student-run and is the largest Model U.N. conference for high school students in the state.

Model U.N. students fully immersed themselves in the conference for the entire weekend. Students were assigned to play one of three specific roles: a country’s delegate in the General Assembly or Committee of the United Nations, a delegate of a country in the World Trade Organization or World Health Organization, or a United States senator. Then, in two five-hour sessions, the students simulated their assigned roles, working through conflicts and proposing resolutions to solve global issues. All of the global scenarios were written by selected high school conference participants.

Says senior Hantong W.: “It is fascinating to watch everyone spend hours each day working to find solutions to the issues, form blocs, and convince others of your position. Model U.N. teaches you how to collaborate and work together in an intense, but productive, way.”

Hantong won an award for his representation in the Joint Crisis Committee (Bloc 1). Hantong’s committee was set in South Africa in 2050. His hypothetical scenario involved a rebellion resulting from an economic takeover by Chinese corporations. Hantong notes that the scenarios for each committee are relevant to many of the hardest issues facing the world today. The general assembly, for example, dealt with legality of drone attacks in the Middle East.

“Because the issues are topics we discuss today, when you partake in Model U.N., you get to hear the other side and try to understand it, even if you don’t agree,” says Hantong. “In the end, I think it is a good model for all of us to understand each other, especially during this time of political polarization in the U.S.”