This past weekend a handful of our students flew to Seoul, South Korea, to participate in the 2014 Yale Model United Nations (MUN). The MUN experience has proven extremely popular with our students, as it provides them with an opportunity to join a global-minded committee for a few days and debate real-world issues alongside students from other high schools around the world. Previous school year’s MUNs have included the Chiang Mai Model United Nations in 2012, the 2012 Baltic Model United Nations in Rostock, Germany, and in 2013 some of our students participated in the Global Classrooms Model United Nations Conference in New York City.
During our fall term in Hyderabad, India, TGS students joined students from nine other schools in participating in the inaugural Indus International School Hyderabad Junior Model United Nations (IISHJMUN). The Indus JMUN was aimed at students ages 11-13, and a number of our grade 9s participated as delegates. In addition, several of our grade 12s served as committee chairs and 11th grader Hannah C. served as the Secretary General. The remainder of the TGS MUN team (known affectionately around these parts as “Shark Club”) joined students from the Indus International School Hyderabad in forming the press corps and secretariat.
While all of the MUNs we have attended have been highly reputable events, this year’s MUN carried the distinction of being held by Yale University. Yale has been holding Model United Nations on their campus in New Haven for over forty years, but recently started branching out and holding annual events in Korea and China. This Ivy League affiliation provided our students with the opportunity to network with current Yale underclassmen, as the secretariat for this year’s YMUN were hand-picked members from Yale’s International Relations Association — many who have years of Model UN experience themselves. Global diversity at a Model United Nations event is imperative, and the Yale staff brought in to assist at the event mirrored that found in TGS classrooms.
The TGS students participating this year were:
The YMUN conference featured five committee sessions; each of these committee sessions saw the student delegates broken up into various groups that were charged with representing the political, social and economic interests of a particular country. Each group then participated in a clause-by-clause debate on the topics at hand. Topics discussed this year included:
- Solutions to the blood diamond trade
- Juvenile incarceration
- Eradication of polo in third world countries
- The plight of women in Muslim countries
- The equitable distribution of transnational natural resources
Besides the committee sessions, our students also had time throughout the weekend to network with many of the other young, brilliant minds attending the event and attend a variety of workshops set up by Yale with a focus on higher education and student life at the prestigious university.
Our students have approached their roles as delegates with great zeal at every Model United Nations that they’ve attended, and this year their efforts were commended with several awards, including:
- 2 honorable mentions
- 1 outstanding delegate
- 3 best delegate
Though the conference itself is only three days in length, months of preparation on the part of our students went into it. With it now being over, our Model United Nations efforts for the year have also concluded. Looking towards next year, we have no doubt in our minds that our students will pick right back up with the same passion in the fall. A special thanks to IB Science teacher Jarret Voytilla and StudentLIFE Advisor Katherine Bourgon for accompanying and assisting the students during their trip, and all of the other TGS staff members who help make the MUN team possible. For more information about this year’s event, you can visit the YMUN website.