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Students Delegating in Model United Nations

Model UN students pose for a picture after their conference.

Model UN students pose for a picture after their conference.

Alexa Fitzpatrick, Reporter

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Students Delegating in Model United Nations

Although Jamestown’s representatives are not delegates in the real world, they can act as them by participating in Model United Nations, a club for high school students interested in international affairs.“You get to talk about world topics,” said Vishal Fenn, who represents Venezuela on the Special Political and Decolonization committee.

Members represent an assigned country or topic and debate global issues. They travel to conferences to debate with other delegates across the United States. Members, ranging from freshmen to seniors, meet every Wednesday to research and prepare for their upcoming conferences.

Media Specialist Lee De Groft, who participated in Model UN when she was in high school and in college, sponsors the organization. “It’s history. It’s current events. It’s debate. It’s travel.” Mrs. De Groft said. She decided to sponsor Model UN two years after she began working at Jamestown, and she has advised it ever since.

Mrs. De Groft is proud of her team’s accomplishments. “Just in the few years that we have been back on, we have had several delegates win Model UN conference awards that are very prestigious and very hard to get,” Mrs. De Groft said. “They are things that you would put on your resume that would help you get into college.”

The next conference for JHS Model UN is March 11 and March 12 at the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond. Approximately 600 students attend the conference every year. There are 20 committees at the conference, as well as guest speakers, such as the former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard.

Any student willing to commit to the strenuous amount of research can join Model UN. Mrs. De Groft says writing, reading, research skills, and persuasiveness are qualities that help students thrive in Model United Nations.

“You really need to be able to kind of understand both issues and get your point across without being somebody who people don’t want to talk to.” Mrs. De Groft said. Model UN also improves members’ public speaking skills through negotiation and persuasion.

Model UN provides long-term experience that students can use after graduation. “One of the main reasons for having the Model UN is so that people understand how the organization works, what it can do, what it can’t do, because a lot of times that can be misunderstood in the media.” Mrs. De Groft said. “It is really crucial for people, especially students, who are thinking of a leadership position or anything in their future that they understand United Nations.”

Students enjoy Model UN for different reasons. “I like conferences because they’re fun and engaging,” said Valeria Miglio, who is an exchange student from Italy. Others enjoy Model UN because it offers them a chance to debate world topics which are not taught in school. Model UN provides students with an opportunity to involve themselves in the world’s history as well as the current events that affect it.

Registration for Model UN remains open all year. The team competed at the William and Mary High School Model UN Conference in the fall. They plan to attend more conferences before the school year ends. “Model UN teaches you skills that you can use in your life.” said Sam Lee, a member of the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural committee. “It’s a great club to have at Jamestown, I’m glad I chose to join it this year.”

 

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Students Delegating in Model United Nations