The Model United Nations Club in the Upper School at Montverde Academy is an active club that participates in a number of Model UN (MUN) events, usually hosted on college or university campuses throughout Florida. They are actively preparing for their next events which will be at Florida International University in Miami, and recently participated in the GatorMUN hosted at the University of Florida in Gainesville, the largest conference in the Southeast, and KnightMUN at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
A Model UN, such as GatorMUN, is a multi-day conference where students learn about real-life issues, diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations by participating in a mock UN conference. Students are assigned a country to represent and serve in two committees which are based on actual UN committees. For GatorMUN, Luke Chang, who is an MVA junior and Secretary General of the Model UN Club, represented Portugal and was assigned to the Committee for Social Development, which discussed the topics of corruption in international education and health disparities in rural areas to create UN resolutions. Prior to the conference, students do research, formulate positions and come up with policy proposals that they will debate with fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the country he/she is representing.
“Model UN is a great opportunity for students to develop and strengthen skills in leadership, critical thinking skills, presenting, public speaking, negotiation, and compromise,” said Mr. Robert Burke, Upper School history teacher and club advisor. “It’s an immersive educational experience for students to understand and be passionate about issues the world is facing. We follow Robert’s Rules of Order
and seriously prepare for events to knowledgably participate in debates, present platforms, develop alliances, and more all with a goal of receiving verbal recognition, getting a name on a resolution, or ultimately earning the highest recognition of being named best delegate and receiving a gavel.”
“I love to participate in solving real world global issues with other delegates who share
different perspectives with me,” said Luke Chang. “When you are sitting with a room full of 50 people who share different perspectives and willing to take you down, you are glad that peace was finally made out of the rivalry between each other.”
The Model UN experience offers students many learning opportunities to learn about the world and understand different countries’ perspectives as more than 100 countries are represented during the conferences. AJ Aziz, a senior, participated in the role of journalist, recording the proceedings as a member of the press corps.
“GatorMUN was the perfect opportunity to meet both high school and college students, and glimpse college life at UF,” said AJ. “The MUN conference introduced me to the professional environment of delegation, how it operates and enlightened me on specific international issues. Seeing the delegates at the convention debate and discuss resolutions to solve world problems is intriguing.”
“Model UN is a great program for students to improve their collaborative, speaking, and critical thinking skills,” said Lilly Anderson, a junior and the Club’s Deputy Secretary General. “At GatorMUN, my committee discussed real world issues like the refugee crisis and gender inequality. I loved being able to come up with solutions to real world problems and seeing how each country debates their opinion on a topic to find a solution.”
The Club is now preparing for the FIU MUN and expects to have more than 10 students participating. Mr. Burke plans to grow the club’s size and build enough student interest to create a competitive MVA Team. “Participation in Model UN makes history relevant for students by examining and discussing real-world issues, from a perspective that is often different from our own. It really is a fascinating and valuable experience that students gain so much from,” said Mr. Burke.