Nearly 400 high school students from approximately 20 high schools in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio will attend the 66th Annual Model UN conference Friday at Gannon University.
The event will simulate the year’s actual United Nations proceedings.
Students will represent different countries and participate in a model of the actual UN.
Each year covers different topics regarding global issues that the UN addresses itself.
This year, the topics for each committee include the use of child soldiers, establishing reforms in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to update trade regulations, promoting the role of nations in preventing ethnic cleansing, empowering youth for sustainable development, and addressing the dangers of pollution and improving responses and coordination in addressing mental health in young people.
Along with these committees, a simulation of the Economic and Social Council of the UN will also take place, addressing the social and economic consequences of religious intolerance.
There will also be a UN Security Council simulation, as there is each year, which will address current security issues.
A Historical Security Council will address the pre-Iraq War and other events that took place back in 2002.
This conference will be hosted and moderated by members of Gannon’s Model UN club.
Students and faculty involved in the club have been working all year to bring together this conference that is a Gannon tradition.
“We are actually the longest-running Model UN in the nation, and the second-oldest Model UN in the world,” said Assistant Secretary General Megan Shindledecker.
Model UN here at Gannon isn’t quite like the high school version of Model UN.
Instead of participating in the conference held at Gannon, members of the club help facilitate the conversations that high school students have about finding solutions to global issues.
Model UN focuses directly on global affairs, which is very much in line with Gannon’s mission of creating globalized citizens out of their students.
By focusing on the work that the United Nations is doing, students can analyze issues and learn more about the problems that people face in other parts of the world.
They can then help high school students understand these issues by presenting them at the conference.
“The event is a great opportunity for understanding the complex challenges faced by the international community and learning about diverse cultures and political systems across the globe,” said Heba Alsahlani, head of the club’s press committee.
Members of the club get to attend conferences themselves, as well.
In the spring, they can attend and participate in conferences in places like Toronto and New York to expand their knowledge of UN activity and global issues.
This, Shindeldecker says, is one of the best parts of being in Gannon’s Model UN.
“I have expanded my knowledge on global affairs and issues facing the United Nations and the world today,” said Shindeldecker.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to the conference!”
By Maddy Bruce