Every year, over a thousand high school students from across the state come together for a Model United Nations (MUN) conference in order to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues. As CTWAC CEO Megan C. Torrey explains, Model UN helps
students develop the skills they need to thrive in our global economy and global workforce. These students are passionate, capable, and determined. They are able to tackle complex global issues. As Connecticut faces a workforce crisis, these are the students we want to remain in our state – the students who will become our future global leaders.
These exceptional students are assigned countries and topics, meet in small groups at school, visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, and finally participate in the large MUN conference at the end of the year.
As a program geared towards preparation and education, Model UN has been a great success. Neha Jonnakota, the 2018 MUN Vice President, expressed how MUN has enlightened her on the processes of the United Nations during her speech at our 2018 Global Security Forum: “I knew what the UN does is important but I never knew what they did behind the scenes. Through the simulations held every December, I, and many others like myself, was able to learn how hard it is to write and pass a resolution.”
This year, MUN 2018 tackles important matters such as cryptocurrency, sustainable cities and fair elections, among others. Since the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is December 10, this year’s Special Historical Committee will focus on writing a new UDHR for the modern world. To explain why Model UN is important and what it means to our students, Hailey Espinosa of Glastonbury High School and a moderator for Committee IV: Sustainable Cities, and Daibhidh Stewart of Classical Magnet School and a member of the Security Council, share their experiences with us.
CTWAC: Why is Model UN important to you?
Hailey: It gives me a platform to discuss global issues with my peers and an opportunity to practice my public speaking in front of a crowd.
Daibhidh: Model UN taught me how to expand my horizons in examining other ways that people in different parts of the world think and live. More importantly, it brought to my attention all the things going on in the world and how deeply entwined it all is with each other.
CTWAC: How does Model UN help you in your future goals?
Hailey: My participation in Model UN sparked my interest in worldwide matters, and I realized that I would like to study International Relations at university. I aspire to eventually be a diplomat. I would like to be a part of meaningful changes, specifically in regards to environmental issues.
Daibhidh: Model UN has ultimately helped me in figuring out that I wanted to go into international studies in college after I graduate high school, as well as how to have a conversation with someone and work to find the best solution to an issue that affects more than just one person…something I am positive will always be a necessary skill in life.
Thank you to these students that shared their experiences and to all the students that participate in Model UN annually. Stay tuned for pictures and updates after the 2018 Model UN conference!
Check out our Model UN 2017 Video and 2018 MUN Vice President Neha Jonnakota’s full speech from the Global Security Forum below!
Full speech by Vice President & Committee I Chair: Neha Jonnakota, Glastonbury High School at the 2018 Global Security Forum:
I’m so excited to be working with this year’s cohort of officers from all over the state … I’m sure every officer has their own spark that they’ll bring to each committee, resolutions and the debates they’ll be moderating. World Affairs Council’s Model UN was actually my first time seeing what the UN does in real life. I knew what the UN does is important but I never knew what they did behind the scenes. Through the simulations held every December I, and many others like myself, was able to learn how hard it is to write and pass a resolution. Last year, for the resolutions that officers wrote, it took us the entirety of two days to come to a consensus. Delegates were able to create amendments, they were able to write new resolutions, they were able to successfully communicate with other delegations. I’ve never seen this type of manner of team building anywhere else but this Model UN simulation. This simulation is one I’m grateful to be part of; it taught me how to speak out in front of a crowd of my own colleagues, to talk about my proposal for a resolution, or in front of all of you today. Model UN has taught me a lot: how to present myself, my school, my country, with honor and grace. It’s such an honor to be this year’s VP, and I’m so excited to make this year another great year of Model UN. Thank you.