The benefits of participating in the middle school Model UN class are almost endless. Students polish their public-speaking skills, develop confidence and leadership abilities, enhance research and writing skills, and learn to negotiate and work as part of a team.
At Locust Valley Middle School, 32 eighth graders are reaping these benefits and more, as Model UN is offered as an enrichment elective. After preparing for months, the students participated in the Global Classrooms International Model United Nations from March 29-30 at the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan. They were among 1,700 students from around the world taking part in the event.
Avery Sessler and Daniel Peterson won best position paper for the Historic Security Council, and Aidan Domin and Aidan Moran won honorable mention in ECOFIN.
All of the students prepared position papers from the perspective of either China or Burkina Faso on topics such as Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change, Illegal Antiquities Trading and Rights of Migrant Workers. They debated the topics in committees such as IAEA, Security Council, UNESCO and WHO, and then wrote and voted on resolutions in blocs.
The students attended the closing ceremonies on Saturday in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations Headquarters. They made friends and exchanged gifts with children from several continents!
Model UN coach Michele Gaglione said the experience was invaluable. “The preparation alone taught the students a tremendous amount,” she said. “Presenting their findings and speaking with their peers from other countries offered insight that they cannot gain from textbooks.”