Category Archives: Model UN and Our Impact
UNA-GB’s Model UN program is designed to ensure that more students, regardless of socioeconomic background, develop the skills necessary for academic achievement and workplace success through a focus on real-world global challenges and experiential learning.
Learn about the UNA-GB’s Model UN programs and the impact it has made in our community!
Model UN for me, has been a transformative experience. It has made me a better student, worker, and world citizen.
UNAGB is delighted to announce that our 2013 MSMUN Secretary-General from Northeastern University, Zunaira Malik has been invited to chair the Human Rights Council at Geneva’s International Model UN (GIMUN) conference. Zunaira’s extraordinary involvement with Model UN, past academic achievements, and drive for international relations make her a fantastic choice for this position. What an exciting opportunity!
Throughout her time at Northeastern, Zunaira was an active member on the Board of Directors for the International Relations Committee (IRC), which organizes the annual MSMUN conference with UNAGB. With the help of over twenty volunteers from the IRC, Zunaira organized an extremely successful 2013 MSMUN event for nearly 400 middle school students from around Boston. Her dedication to Model UN and passion for working with students stems from her own personal experiences.
Chairing the MSMUN conference was an incredibly rewarding experience. Seeing delegates tackling real-world problems, collaborating to come up with creative solutions while juggling their own convictions, and that too at such a young age, it’s really very inspiring. I remember going to bed that night feeling like the future will be okay.
She explains that in her first year as a Model UN participant, she was too intimidated to speak on the first day of the conference. After hearing encouragement from her professor and mentors on her team, she gained the confidence to speak about policy issues on the second day. It was this experience that inspired her to help young people participating in Model UN conferences to speak up despite the fears they may have. In fact, as a member of the directors’ board, she sat with her younger peers and helped nurture the sort of confidence she gained in her first year.
Zunaira has also shown incredible achievements prior to moving to Boston for college. Born in Pakistan, she moved to New York with her family in 1997 when she was in the second grade. Her working knowledge of five languages (Urdu, English, Spanish, Punjabi, and Arabic) as well as a number of high school experiences fueled her interest in international policy. In her sophomore year of high school, she was inspired by a town-sponsored leadership event that taught her about public speaking and policy negotiation. In her junior year, Zunaira was selected as one of two Presidential Scholars for New York, which is the highest honor awarded to high school students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement. Through the prestigious program, she studied U.S. politics and took trips to the Democratic National Convention, the State Office, Pentagon, and Department of Defense.
Through Northeastern’s Coop Program, she was able to work at the Department of Defense and Senator Kristen Gillibrand’s office. Last summer she was in Jordan working with Syrian refugees and then went to The Hague and ICC/ICJ to work on reconciling peace and justice in post-conflict societies. She is currently working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C. and hopes to pursue a career in policy. What an impressive young lady!
UNABG is extremely proud of Zunaira’s accomplishments and honored to have been part of her very impressive Model UN (and UN) past.
(Model UN) has provided me with skills that class lectures and coops don’t cover. I have learned a lot about my leadership style, issues that I am passionate about, and most importantly how to collaborate, debate, and negotiate with others. It provided me with a platform to gain confidence in coming up with creative solutions to problems plaguing our society
We are pleased to be supporting Zunaira in her efforts to travel to the chair at this upcoming prestigious Geneva Conference. If you would like to join with us in making a donation, please visit this site. All proceeds will go directly towards her travel.
Model UN is a gateway for opportunities: a cultural platform where a medley of delegations come together and pool their ideals and brainpower to work towards a common goal – a successful resolution addressing various solutions towards the world’s problems. As this world’s inhabitants we owe it to ourselves to address its issues and Model UN provides a plethora of ways to do so. After all, if we won’t do it, then who will?
Braving wind and snow, 10 talented writers took a break from the negotiations at Harvard’s Model UN Conferences to visit UNAGB’s office two weeks ago. While warming up and learning about what our office does, these international students were kind enough to share insights about the skills they have developed through Model UN as well as ideas for teaching the next generation of global citizens. Here’s what they had to say when asked, why should young people do Model UN?
Being a part of MUN encourages us young people to realize how the world interacts, its issues, and to take a bigger role in solving these issues. To participate in MUN helps us understand how powerful we really are.
Model UN is an opportunity to understand and engage in fascinating aspects of global diplomatic, international affairs, and political strategy. In a dynamic, globally-connected 21st century world, students need to have complex understanding of policy internationally in order to succeed.
Model UN for me is a way to connect young people globally in order to solve the issues of the world while considering and bringing each and every creative idea together through brainstorming and lobbying.
Young people should do Model UN because it’s an ideal place to meet people who are smart, open-minded and creative. Each time I go to a conference we come together with our individual experiences to tackle problems. And each conference is unique because their creative minds think of a solution I haven’t even thought about.
Young people should participate in Model UN in order to better understand the world around. Model UN fosters communication and partnership between groups in order to better the world around them. The skills developed in Model UN are necessary for cooperating with one another in order to achieve a main goal.
Model UN enables students from diverse backgrounds with a diversity of ideas to finally collaborate in order to develop innovative ideas for development. It allows students to have a broader spectrum of the international community and work towards a common goal – to pass a resolution that benefits everyone. It is a great experience and allows for self-development.
Model UN is not just one opportunity but a gateway to a whole new realm of discovery. It is an experience where you are not only inspired to construct solutions to problems, but execute this in a collaborative and diplomatic way. One certainly leaves the conference as a more cultured, informed and competent global citizen.
Model UN not only teaches about one of the most important institutions in the world, but also allows students to understand the intricacies of the world and form educated opinions about complicated issues. From these opinions, future leaders and participating members of society have the proper basis to start to fix the problems in the world.
Young people know their community, they know their city and they know their people. Model UN opens the global community to the youth. It is about integrating local to the global world. It is about presenting the reality of other places to someone who might never have had the opportunity and involving them in the conflicts and needs of the world.
This Halloween, bring global education and service learning to your classroom and get students involved with one of the largest “kids helping kids” fundraisers! Youth volunteers across the United States will be changing the lives of children all over the world in a fun, educational and half-century old project!
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF began in 1950 as a way to help kids who need more than candy. Since then, children all over America have gone door-to-door on Halloween with UNICEF collection boxes, calling out, “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF!” and have raised more than $170 million for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Funds have enabled UNICEF to save and improve children’s lives by providing health care, improved nutrition, clean water, education and more. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF does more than just provide a way for children to help their peers. For parents, teachers and group leaders, it’s a time-tested tool that motivates kids to learn the value of helping others.
HOW TO GET INVOLED
The little orange boxes that represent more than 60 years of kids-helping-kids are ready to order. Order today!
– Virtual Trick or Treating
We are taking Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF into the new century this year, and families, schools and individuals can create online fundraising pages to “knock on doors” around the country and fundraise for the world’s children.
FREE EDUCATION MATERIAL & OPPORTUNITIES
Our 2014 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF PRE K-2 Teacher’s Guide and grades 3-6 Teacher’s Guide includes interdisciplinary units for grades on global issues facing children, guidance on participating in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and information on the impact of this campaign. Workshops, lesson plans and stories are already complete! Students can learn AND Take Action. Download these FREE downloadable resources and videos.
- Schedule a U.S. Fund for UNICEF speaker or workshop
Please consider any classroom time or school assemblies for our Global Citizens Fellow to visit, share resources, and kick-off this year’s Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign with your students! The Global Citizens Fellow empowers American youth to challenge global injustice and take action locally. These engaging and informative presentations aim to introduce TOT, its impact, and ignite enthusiasm. Presentations and workshops are delivered to all age groups on issues related to children in developing countries and what we in the United States can do to take action. The Boston Fellow can be reached at the following information:
Thank for your time and consideration and we look forward to hearing from you!
Last Friday marked the completion of our second session Model United Nations (MUN) Summer Institute, with another outstanding group of students learning debate skills, improving their confidence, exploring human rights and analyzing international policies. Click here for more information about our MUN Summer Institute. Last week, we summarized the experience of the MUN Summer Institute in our “Why the Model UN Rocks!! Part 1” post. This week, we’d like to explore the diversity of our participants, and how it created an stimulating simulation, and illuminating experience for the delegates.
Our MUN Summer Institute invites students grade 8 through 12 to join us in a week of debating and public speaking. This gives us a range of participants from ages 13 to 17. These students came to us from over 25 different schools in the area. Some students came with friends or siblings, and some came without knowing anyone, some even came from another country — but by the end of the week, everyone had made a camp-full of new friends. Some had absolutely no background in MUN , while some had previously joined us in this program last year, or participated in other similar programs. Each participant had a different level of prior experience with MUN, which created a unique environment, where students were able to learn from each other as much as from us.
The diversity of our participants provided us with a really exceptional week of debate in our simulations. Students different backgrounds allowed them to formulate unique arguments, and helped them think outside of the box. The program allows students a choice in who they will be working with for the majority of the week, friendships form quickly on the first day, and groups form with different levels of experience, different ages, and most importantly different ideas. This year’s Model UN Simulation posed the question, “Is the use of drones a human rights violation?”, to participants. The students were assigned to represent different countries around the world, and had to defend and explain their country’s view on this topic to their other delegates.
The diversity in groups allowed each participant to learn something from the others, whether it was about drones, human rights, or parliamentary procedure, each participant had a strength and knowledge to share with others. Even students with seemingly little experience helped other more seasoned delegates think creatively, by asking questions, and providing new insight. Some of our favorite arguments this week were the creative ones that really stood out, and could only come from a group of diverse students.
This weeks top quotes are: “Dandelions are like flowers for lazy people…..” “Soccer represents something close to a mans heart, his courage and manliness….” “Putin has a bumper sticker that says “I don’t brake for Ukrainians”
The United Nations is a diverse organization, and our MUN program allows students from varying backgrounds to come together and learn from each other in a setting similar to the real thing!
Stay tuned, we still have one week of Summer Institute to go – the premier of our crisis-based Advanced Institute! And check out our Facebook Page for more photos from both weeks
Our first Model UN (MUN) Institute for this summer concluded last week, and we are very excited to share what the participants gained, and also what they taught us! If you are interested in learning more or signing up for the next session, click here!
MUN Institute is a program that offers a comprehensive introduction to the field of international relations. It gives participants the opportunity to develop their public speaking, negotiation and research skills, while simultaneously getting to learn about human rights and the foundation of the current international system. So basically, not only do you learn a lot about the world, you also get a chance to be a better speaker.
All of us were quite impressed with the participants from the very first day, however we have all heard that, “Practice makes perfect”, and the improvement in the participants’ public speaking and debate skills proved that the idiom couldn’t be truer. Multiple ice breakers paired with Model UN simulations on the first day of the institute allowed participants to interact with their fellow delegates in a fun relaxed environment. After attendees learned what constitutes a country, they participated in a simulation where they represented fictional characters from Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Divergent. Delegates were given the task of getting their world recognized as a country by the United Nations. The debate that followed was truly fascinating. The fact that many participants had no prior MUN experience, and were still giving so involved was very impressive.
The second day of the Institute was mostly spent teaching the participants about parliamentary procedure. It is basically a set of rules in MUN that need to be followed when addressing another delegate or staff members. Although, parliamentary procedure is a crucial part of any MUN conference, what is even more important is being able to think on your feet. To make sure that the participants leave the Institute with this skill, we introduced an extemporaneous speaking exercise. How this worked was that the participants would stand in front of the room and would be given an everyday object to ‘represent’. Their job then is to defend why that specific thing carries great importance. This was by far our favorite activity to watch and participate in (yes, the interns participated too)! The mix of intellectual arguments and funny anecdotes made the whole exercise even better. For instance, when asked to defend tie dye shirts, a participant said, “Tie dye shirts are the crux of our global economy.” Also, why do you think bumper stickers are important, well one of our participants believed, “Bumper stickers make you feel cool if you’re not cool.”
Casual debate is important; however, most of the debate in MUN is carried out in a very professional setting. On Friday, participants were dressed in western business attire and represented delegates from different countries; a true Model UN simulation. The topic they were debating was “The Use of Drones as a Human Rights Violation”.
Now, I have seen politicians, influential figures and activists talk about drones, but never have I ever been so fascinated by a conversation about the subject until I met these kids. Whether their country’s position was to defend the use of drones or not, their solid arguments and amazing metaphors set the debate in motion for a good five hours. Words like McCarthyism and phrases like, “What if I hire someone to kill the rats in my house and they killed everyone in the house” were stated in an attempt to highlight the many drawbacks of uses military drones. Many others also brought to the table the various pros and humanitarian uses of drones to monitor border patrol and provide security.
We can go on and on about the participants, but I think one last thing that I would like to mention is that they all came from various different backgrounds, but when it came to discussing a controversial subject, they kept their differences aside, listened and worked together. Today, many problems we face in this world are due to intolerance and the sheer lack of inability to listen to our peers. What we can learn from these kids is that it is okay to think different as long as you listen and try to work together!
Happy Fourth Everyone!
We will keep you updated as soon as our second Institute for this summer finishes next week.
By Lesley Ta, Malden High Junior and UN Reporter for the 2013 Invitational Model UN Conference
International communication and foreign diplomacy have become increasingly imperative tools in the modern era. With seemingly endless limits to accelerated information, the world has become a place where set boundaries are surpassed with increasing regularity. There has been growing concern over the leadership capabilities of the current generation. With technology’s expanding force, many traditional methods have been abandoned; alas, the current generation is the first to ride out the newly intimate world with an edge.
Will our children seamlessly succeed into our governments?
United Nations (UN) simulations are gaining ground throughout the world. Thousands of middle school aged and high school aged students are participants in these conferences. They often set a solid foundation for public speaking and a passion for international relations.Will they continue to fight our wars, to initiate the same mistakes? Will they learn to become informed, enlightened individuals?
In each conference, pairs represent a single country; they are responsible for accurately representing the country’s response to an authentic developing issue. The role – playing required of students can often be contemplative of oneself; it is common to observe delegates becoming passionate regarding their duties as ambassadors.
The United Nations Security Council, both genuine and simulation, is considered the most prominent congregation of the United Nations.
Absolute members of the Security Council total 15 countries; five of which are permanent: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Current totating member countries are: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Australia, Guatemala, Luxemburg, Morocco, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, and Togo.
The General Assembly (GA) is the only division of the UN with representation from all member countries. The GA elects the rotating seats of the Security Council (SC) and may constitute recommendations of action to the council. The GA is not privileged to decide on the SC responsibilities of peace and security.
The United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) hosts the Invitational Model United Nations Conference (IMUNC) at Northeastern University (NU) annually. Sponsored by National Grid and Global Classrooms, this convention is available to both public and charter schools in Boston and it’s surrounding cities: Cambridge, Chelsea, Lynn, Revere, Malden, Somerville, Everett, and Worcester.
Middle school and high schools students were exempt from participation fees due to the financial support provided by UNA-GB’s generous donors. The 2013 IMUNC was postponed from March 8th to April 1st due to an intense snow storm.
At nine am on April 1st, participants were greeted with the well wishes from the directors of NU’s International Relations Council and UNA-GB’s Curriculum and Instruction Manager, Rebecca Corcoran.
IMUN Secretary-General Evan Brunning expressed inspirational roots; Brunning began participating in Model United Nations as a college student.
IMUN Head Delegate Katherine Teebagey opened the floor to questions and generally received inquiries from middle school students. The younger crowd’s questions focused on the law career opportunities that the IMUNC could open.
The High School Security Council was assigned to settle on North Korea’s nuclear threats. All countries selected for this committee mirrored the existing countries in the official United Nations Security Council.
Present countries were: the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Australia, China, Guatemala, Pakistan and South Korea.
Boston Latin Academy’s delegates portrayed the Russian Federation, Pakistan and South Korea. The John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science from Roxbury sent delegates to represent Pakistan and the United Kingdom. The positions of Australia, China, and Guatemala were secured by delegates from Malden High School.
North Korea was not in attendance to this event, however would have been depicted by Lynn Classical High School. Another Course to College, Academy of the Pacific Rim, and Lynn English High School were also not present. All absentee schools had country assignments for the Security Council debate.
The first session of the Committee occurred between 9:30am and 12:00pm. Chair Teebagey opened the formal debate with a volunteer speakers’ list. Discussion and consideration of issues were scattered and disorientated. Countries were either brief or reserved in their declarations.
Chair Teebagey intended on ensuring the assessments of each country in attendance; her procedure proved to be instrumental for the situation at hand. After each territory had spoken at least twice, Chair Teebagey and the council members were satisfied at the clarification the proceeding gave.
With each standpoint given, perspectives were gearing in preparation for the second and final committee session.
Commencing at 12:45pm, countries were absolutely consumed and attached to means of humanitarian aid to the peoples of North Korea (NK).
Chair Darnell Louis and Vice-Chair Richard Yu of University of Massachusetts Boston moderated the committee for the duration of the second session.
The United Kingdom (UK) announced a focal point on humanitarian efforts, and was willing to give monetary reliefs; they mentioned a possible directory for self-defense in case of North Korean contentions.
Australia expressed fierce opposition to aid contributions; however they asserted sincere concerns for the people in need. In response to the Russian Federation’s wish of “diplomatic relations”, Korea’s and Guatemala’s “economic sanctions”, Australia adamantly pointed out their personal failed treaties with NK.
Pakistan suggested befriending NK in order to “force them to act in a reasonable way.”
China was accused of “not signing economic sanctions”, however repelled such statements. Australia fired at the Chinese delegation, believing that “China’s aid [to NK] was obligated.” China confirmed that it was the “bulk of the humanitarian aid” that NK was receiving; China responded to aid apprehension by stating that the assistance was for the “uplifting of the N. Korean state.”
The Russian Federation (RF) urged for caution when the discussion shifted to military action. Guatemala and Pakistan were anxious over the possible pretense of war, and concurred with the RF. Testifying indignantly, Australia stated that “it was not the sanctions that had made NK go bad, it was the N. Korean decision to not [follow them].”
The Republic of Korea eloquently added that there must be “unity and safety within the U.N. if NK goes to war.” They spoke earnestly on how unnecessary the NK threats were. The UK reiterated the concurrence of “safety and diplomacy first,” and a precedent for last resort military actions taken against NK with prepared reserves.
The Security Council passed for a moderated caucus discussing the details of a draft resolution. The moderated caucus immediately concentrated on the types of humanitarian aid applicable, and on what manner it should be delivered.
RF eliminated the option of monetary aid, however wished to concentrate on food, shelter, children and education.
The RF also believed that random inspections may be an option to ensure the distribution of aid to the general population. China strongly disagreed with this suggestion. The UK called attention to the N. Korean mentality, and the difficulties of providing aid within such a mindset. UK also clarified its military reserves as a “defense mechanism” rather than an anticipation of an “attack.”
China indicated the contradictory actions of imposing sanctions while giving aid. Guatemala chided China’s “refusal of a resolution.”
The Security Council passed for a five minute unmoderated caucus to in order to entice all veto -powered countries to agree on all terms of the proposed resolutions.
Amina Egal, representing the United Kingdom, stated that the country was “taking the North Korean threat seriously” and that a “state of war” was a possibility.
A troubled UK was desperate in convincing China to assent with military actions.
Australia’s Wyler Giordani and Jean Gedoan were exasperated with China’s disregard for the draft resolutions.
In response to China’s insensibility to military action, Giordani stated “ .. when a country is uncooperative and/or refusing to compromise, that is when the debate is over.”
Gedeon added that there was an interminable cycle of arguments occurring between China and the other delegations. Zeyu Zheng and Jiohnnie Diaz of Pakistan aspired to pass a long term solution; they believed that a short term solution would be a militaristic based one.
Zheng commented that the heated debate between the UK and China developed because each had advantages in passing/vetoing a resolution.
Guatemala’s delegate, Cara Mulligan, disclosed that “North Korea carries a huge problem,” but does not “pose as a threat.” Mulligan made it clear that Guatemala is anxious over the unpredictability of North Korea’s actions and the possible effects Guatemala will face as a result.
Mulligan represented Guatemala solo for the second committee.
Elahd Hain and Michael John of the Republic of Korea also shared Australia’s dismay. “China’s not listening,” they briefly commented, “we want a whole set of plans and China [only] wants a part [of them].”
China refused to comment during the unmoderated caucus.
Resolution 1.1: “Should diplomacy fail, economic sanctions will be implemented.” An amendment was added to ensure that “military intervention was ok as long as there was North Korean military aggression.”
An amendment was made to 1.1 as a result of the negotiations during the unmoderated caucus. Military action was to be the last, final resort to North Korean military aggression. This draft resolution passed with three abstaining, two “no” votes, and “four” yes votes.
Resolution 1.2: “Focusing on the people in North Korea as a government, [there will be a] discontinuation of monetary funds…but will have access to food, water, clothing, and education.”
Sponsored by the RF and South Korea, this resolution passed with a no vote from Australia, an abstain from Guatemala, a Pakistani pass, turned yes vote joining with China, RF, UK, and Republic of Korea.
Resolution 1.3 was vetoed by the United Kingdom, although had yielded a no vote from the Republic of Korea and yes votes from the rest of the delegation.
The High School Security Council had passed their resolutions around an hour before the conference ended. An emergency conflict was thrown at the Council, however did not receive much dedicated attention. The first conflict was civilian unrest in Mali of the Congo, however a situation with infighting within the North Korean government proved to be more appealing to solve.
The delegates of the United Kingdom, from The John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, were proclaimed the best public speakers.
Representatives of the Russian Federation, from the Boston Latin Academy, received the award for best position paper.
As of the conclusion of the 2013 IMUNC at Northeastern University, Malden High School’s China received the Security Council “best delegation” award.
As temperatures rose in New England last week, 44 middle and high school students convened in the air conditioned classrooms of the Harvard Business School for a week of intensive global diplomacy training at the UNA-GB’s Model United Nations Summer Institute. These budding global leaders chose to trade in traditional camp activities like archery, swimming and horse-back riding in order to debate, negotiate, and create resolutions to the world’s most pressing issues, honing the skills they will need as global citizens and leaders in the 21st century.
The students kicked off the week with ice breakers and activities geared towards understanding the UN and learning about the complexities of human rights law. These activities taught the students effective debate skills, such as listening to each other and learning to respect and draw attention from the other delegates during the simulations. Throughout the week, students were introduced to international relations and critical 21st century skills like negotiation, public speaking and problem-solving through the lens of Model United Nations curriculum and simulations focused on terrorism and Human Rights. They had the unique opportunity to learn about the UN’s parliamentary procedure, formal debate vocabulary and how to complete high-level research through actual simulated debate and role play.
For the full simulation on Friday, the students teamed up in pairs to represent a UN member state in the General Assembly, allowing them the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of UN delegates and present their country’s position on conflict diamonds. This involved significant group work and alliance building among countries in order to come up with possible solutions. These solutions were translated into UN resolutions that were then debated and voted on by all countries.
In order to create a resolution, the students had to recognize and understand the complexity of each global issue and they had to take into account the various economic and political implications a resolution would have on different countries. They also had to reach a compromise amid widely conflicting country interests, from Zimbabwe to the UK to China.
The dedication, seriousness and excitement exhibited by the students throughout the week was impressive and inspiring to all staff and adults in attendance. It was a real treat to see how realistic and impressive the debates were, and how the youth, no matter their age, were cooperative, motivated and committed to crafting feasible resolutions to modern day global challenges of terrorism and conflict diamonds.
We want to thank all of these future global leaders for giving up a week of their summer vacation to tackle the world’s pressing global challenges and to learn critical 21st century skills, all while having fun and building valuable friendships. We hope to see some familiar faces next summer and at the Model UN programs during the year!
Stay tuned for student testimonies and additional feedback from the second session, to be held from July 9-July 13, serving 45 more young global advocates!
– Julia Kuperminc and Catherine Schrage
Despite the dreary weather on Monday, UNA-GB launched a fantastic week of programming. Staff and interns took a field trip to Harvard Business School where the 2012 Model UN Summer Institute’s first session kicked off, with nearly 50 6th-12th grade students from around Boston and the country coming together for an intensive week-long program focused on global diplomacy and leadership.
Across the quad, in Spangler Hall, UNA-GB staff, Advisory Council members, and Board officers gathered for our annual Advisory Council luncheon. This year we were pleased and honored to welcome Ambassador Robert Pelletreau and his wife Pamela as our special guests.
Pelletreau has impressive and timely expertise in the Middle East, having served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs as well as Ambassador to Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain throughout his 35 year career in the Foreign Service. Upon leaving government, he joined the international law firm of Afridi & Angell , and in 2002, along with his wife, became Co-Director, of Search for Common Ground in the Middle East. Mrs. Pelletreau was an active volunteer of UNA in New York, and since moving to the Cape this year, has become more involved with UNA-GB.
The luncheon opened with an energizing introduction from UNA-GB President Richard Golob, who spoke enthusiastically about the Advisory Council and their role as ambassadors to the Boston community. Council Member Peter Smith echoed Richard’s comments, describing the crucial role of the Advisory Council as not only spokespeople for UNA-GB overall, but also specifically as avid supporters of our Model UN global education programming.
Ambassador Pelletreau spoke next, giving all those gathered at the table a clear, organized and engaging update on the current status of political changes in the Middle East, while also bringing in charming personal anecdotes; he opened with a story about playing squash with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. During his remarks, he shared 4 general observations on political uprisings in the last year or so:
- globalization of communications
- the key role of a slumped global economy
- a shift in demographics due to a huge youth population
- and the rise and influence of Islamist parties.
Pelletreau stated that a combination of these factors was the catalyst for the uprisings, pointing out that in an increasingly globalized world where news access is everywhere and stories can spread like wildfire, it is harder to cut your citizens off from the rest of the world. Ambassador Pelletreau gave his take on what the future may look like in this region, and in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria specifically, saying that while much is unclear, fighting is likely to continue. As a final wrap up to his informed commentary, Pelletreau shared another anecdote, this time about Henry Kissinger’s legendary trip to China in 1971, during which Premier Zhou was asked about the implications of the French Revolution – he replied that it was “too early to say”. All those in attendance laughed at the irony, and with understanding that issues as complicated as those currently faced in the Arab world will indeed take time.
After a brief time of Q&A, Executive Director Lena Granberg updated the Council on UNA-GB programming so far this year, particularly highlighting the successes of our Model UN program, now serving almost 3,000 6th-12th grade students in the greater Boston area. (To catch up on recent UNA-GB events or upcoming programs visit the website). Ann Kirby, who works on educational development at UNA-GB, gave a brief introduction to the Model UN Summer Institute, which teaches 6th-12th graders the values of debate, teamwork, and public speaking while engaging in simulated negotiations on real-world global challenges.
The Advisory Council members then had a chance to sit in on one of the Institute’s sessions to experience the impact of this transformative college-preparatory program firsthand. The students were finishing up an exercise through which they established a working definition of human rights for use in their simulations. This was followed up by an engaging and entertaining public speaking exercise where they had to go around the circle, state their name, the names of those before them, and an activity/like they have. It provided much fodder for discussion about the importance of active listening and ways to remember key facts when speaking.
It was great to see various aspects of UNA-GB come together in one place, and to see our mission come alive through the Summer Institute. Teens from the Greater Boston Area as well as active community members, professionals, and former ambassadors were all laughing and learning together. And no amount of torrential rain could dampen the inspiration felt around both the work of the UN and UNA-GB’s work to empower the next generation of global leaders that afternoon!
Wondering how you can join in? Check out how to get involved on our website!
One of the inevitable rituals that comes with going back to school is sharing what you did on your summer vacation with your fellow classmates. Is working towards solving the world’s most pressing global challenges, such as child marriage, immigration, and human rights a common story?
For the 39 rising 8th-12th graders who attended our first ever Model UN Summer Camp, held at Harvard Business School in July, the answer is yes. We asked a handful of our summer campers to share about their camp experience and how it feels to be working towards becoming the next generation of global advocates. Learn more about the week here and consider sharing information about next year’s camp with a young person in your life!
Raheem, 11th grade
I am from: I live in Rosendale, MA; that’s where I was born, but my mom is actually from Singapore. She is from an Arab background, and she grew up there in Singapore.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I have always been interested in international relations, so this is a great way to learn about some of the current issues today.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned about current issues in different countries such as child marriage, and also the role of peacekeepers in the UN, so doing those simulations really helped me to learn more about those different aspects.
What I liked the most about this program: It is so much more engaging type of learning than just hearing about things on the news, so I really enjoyed it. I think the public speaking aspect that we focus on a lot really helps a lot.
This program will help me with my future goals: Before this I didn’t think international relations was really up there, but now I may be considering it in the future. I have not done much public speaking before, so wasn’t really used to it, but such a big part of it was based on public speaking that I think I have gotten much better in it.
I would suggest this program to other students: I think that all sort of kids would like it whether they like to speak out or not, they learn a lot would really broadened their horizons based on politics.
Christina, 11th grade
I am from: Malden, MA
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I came to Model UN Camp to be better at public speaking and further my education in international relations.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned a lot of things I have not known before that I would need to take to the future with me.
I liked the most about this program: How we came from all over the world to the debate and the caucuses, and the different roles there are.
This program will help me with my future goals: In the future I hope to go into maybe something in law, maybe history, so either way Model UN will help me.
I would suggest this program to other students: Advice that I give is to come prepared and be open. Don’t be shy about it because everyone is at the same position – come and learn and just be ready to do it.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I have always been interested in international relations. My school is an international school, so there are lots of kids from all over. I have always been completely fascinated by the different cultural backgrounds and the way countries interact and politics that unite them.
What I have learned from this program: I will learn more about how to express myself and how to debate…How to argue convincingly from point when I don’t completely agree with that point. The thing about being diplomat is you represent a country and a body of people and that’s very important because not everyone’s voice can be heard at any global situation. I want to learn about different countries and different policies.
What I liked the most about this program: Learning from and hearing about what other people have to say, along with meeting new people.
This program will help me with my future goals: When I am older I would love to be a diplomat. Interactions between people and countries in the world are fascinating, and someday I want to make a positive difference in it.
I would suggest this program to other students: It is important for someone to represent because otherwise those people’s voices won’t be heard.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: This year I am a class president of my club at my high school and I really want to further my knowledge of the UN and learn about its operations and policies as well as that I hope for a career in the UN someday.
What I have learned from this program: My experience at the Model UN UNA-GB Summer Camp was extraordinary. It [provided] me with experience to become a better public speaker and debater. Some of the nature of the issues, which I would want to deal with, would be the global economy crisis…as well as human rights.
I liked the most about this program: I made a lot of new friends. I learned how to become a much more effective and efficient delegate in future Model UN Competitions.
This program will help me with my future goals: I want to represent people who typically, normally speak up for themselves and to defend them. My dream job would be to become a politician either for the United States or to represent the United States in the UN because I care a lot about people. It has made me want to become even more involved in international politics; I believe it will help me when applying to some colleges.
I would suggest this program to other students: I think it is important for teenagers my age to join this program, so that way they will realize that they are going to be affected by human rights or some other law or other aspect which the UN discusses.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: Because I really did not know about the UN. I thought that I could actually learn how the UN works, what the UN really is, what they really do. I want to learn more about modern day issues and human rights.
What I have learned from this program: Paying attention is definitely a key part of this camp. It really helps with public speaking. I learned how to debate. I actually was not really that good in it and I have improved a lot.
What I liked the most about this program: Parliamentary procedures… It was actually my favorite part in the whole class. I had almost no idea when I came here, but now I really understand it.
This program will help me with my future goals: When I joined the camp I thought it will be an interesting thing to know about…I actually don’t know exactly what my career would be, but I think it definitely will help me. It is a very important thing nowadays because all these issues and human rights are a big thing today.
I would suggest this program to other students: It was very accelerating, hard at some points, but I thought it was fun and very educational overall.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp to: Improve my speaking skills and actually learn to give out my opinions, my suggestions more because before I had a hard time putting out my personal views on certain topics.
What I have learned from this program: It has been a great experience understanding and learning more and getting to touch up on everything I have learned before. The Summer Camp has just expanded my level of understanding of how to give out more information about the certain topics that I understand and how to speak to other people sharing my views with others. I learned everything from child marriage to migrant workers and their struggles to basics of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What I liked the most about this program: [It is] giving me the chance to actually meet with other students from other schools and other countries and cities, which gives me a broader understanding of their different views on different topics being discussed.
This program will help me with my future goals: It changed my life because growing up I always knew I wanted to do something that was bigger than me – something that did not just have to do with me helping myself, but helping others. And the Model UN simulation just gives you the feeling that it is okay to want to get out of the comfort zone, to say I want to go beyond myself, and I want to help others in the process.
I have always wanted to be a pediatrician. That’s always been in my plan book, but I want to intertwine that with traveling – I want to travel to help those in need, maybe kids in the other parts of the world that cannot get the aid that they need for those specialized areas.
I would suggest this program to other students: This program is amazing because it is actually improving your social capability and your ability to learn and share with others what you learned. It is a great experience to come to the summer camp because it sharpens your learning abilities and what you know about American history and about the issues in general. It is the beginning, opening the door to helping others, and understanding what the world is made out of.
I decided to join the Model UN Summer Camp because: I thought it was a great opportunity to come to a beautiful city like Boston and practice and learn some things about Model United Nations that I did not know before.
What I have learned from this program: I have learned a lot of things about international relations and child rights and human rights that I would have never known if I would have never came to this program. Mediating with other countries is always the best way to fix things.
What I liked the most about this program: It sets a great platform for your future aspirations to go farther than Model United Nations, and I would suggest it to any Model UN students.
This program will help me with my future goals: Overall I would like to make the world a better place. There is a lot of turmoil in the world. And it is only one person, but if one person affects three, two people, that is already life well spent. I am aspiring to go to college at Boston University and go to the international relations school and maybe become an ambassador to another country from the United States. And the prior information that I have learned from this program will surely help to reach that goal.
I would suggest this program to other students: Whether you are experienced or not in the Model United Nations field, you can learn some things that you did not know or if you just completely new to the Model UN, you can learn everything you really need to know.
This past week, UNA-GB broke new ground by hosting our first ever Model UN Summer Institute! We had nearly 40 youth forgo traditional camp activities like archery, swimming and horse-back riding to participate in a brand new week long camp, working towards becoming the next generation of global advocates, while also experiencing life on a prestigious graduate school campus.
From July 11-15, 39 rising 8th-12th graders immersed themselves in the world of Model UN and worked towards solving the world’s most pressing global challenges at Harvard Business School. From 9am to 4pm each day of the five-day institute, students were introduced to international relations and critical 21st century skills like negotiation, public speaking and problem-solving through the lens of Model United Nations curriculum, with a culminating simulation of the UN General Assembly Disarmament and International Security Committee focused on international peacekeeping operations. Some of these lessons and activities the students participated included:
- Analyzing international and historical concepts like the international system, nuclear proliferation and the Cold War, and major players on the world stage and newcomers to the scene.
- Engaging in public speaking and team building exercises that urged students to think on the spot, deliver eloquent speeches, and socialize with other students.
- Learning the ins and outs of the actual parliamentary procedure used by the United Nations today; consequently practiced composing resolutions, using vocabulary such as “points” and “motions”, and voting procedure.
- Exploring the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women while understanding the impact UN milestones have on the international stage.
- Writing draft resolutions and representing their individual country’s view on the issue of Child Marriage.
By the end of the week, students were well versed in the workings of the United Nations and formal debate, confident in their public speaking, and had made strong bonds with other students sharing their passion for international relations and world issues. Friday’s simulation came with much anticipation as students arrived to the conference room in business casual attire, eager to attack the day’s proceedings (though bittersweet as well, since it signaled the pending end of camp). Heavy debate, draft resolutions, and a motion to close debate and end the simulation mixed in with a few laughs and photos characterized the finalization of the MUN Summer Camp and a week the students, and the UNA-GB staff and interns, will not forget.
Don’t just take our word for it! Check out photos, videos, live tweets and learn more about the week! And stay tuned for some additional videos coming out featuring more highlights and interviews with the students, as well as a guest blog post from one of the campers.
A special thank you goes to National Grid, one of our fabulous corporate sponsors who offered 10 scholarships for students to attend this year’s camp!
We also hope we can offer additional sessions of camp next year, so more of our future leaders have a chance to step into the shoes of ambassadors!