By Julia Barnett
This past weekend, Model UN took their yearly trip. This year’s program kicked off with a three-day conference at the prestigious campus of Princeton University. 18 Byram Hills students were among over 1,100 delegates from schools all over the world who descended on the Princeton Campus on November 17th for this annual event. In previous years, the team from Byram Hills attended Model UN conferences at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. The conference is led by college students who were either in Model UN during high school or continue to participate in Model UN while at college. It was a big success. Byram’s head delegate, senior Rachel Broomer, called it “a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet people from all around the world and work with them on global issues.” Sophomore Ruth Beinhacker believes “the best part of the weekend was meeting people who share the same passions as you on foreign relations.”
Thinking about a career in international relations? Do you see yourself working for the U.S. Department of State or the United Nations? A great place to start would be participating in the Byram Hills Model United Nations Club.
During the school year, the Byram Hills Model UN Club meets once a week to discuss and prepare for this special conference. Mrs. Lewick, the club advisor, believes that Model UN is perfect for students who “enjoy history, read the newspaper, are interested in the world around them, and most importantly are willing to take risks and participate.” Every high school attending is assigned countries to represent prior to the conference. This year, our school represented the countries of Ghana, Iceland, India, and Belgium. Additionally, before the conference each club member is assigned a country to research. In order to prepare for the conference, members write research papers about their assigned country’s policies, government, culture, and status in the world. Each student is also assigned a specific committee that deals with a certain issue faced by their country.
Over the span of three days, there are seven committee sessions that meet to discuss main issues on subjects, such as the environment, health, crime, and energy. The committee meetings last approximately an hour and a half. While at the conference, students work in these committees and debate different ideas until solutions to the issues are proposed to problems such as human trafficking and the creation of a nuclear-free zone. One of the best parts of being in the committees is the opportunities students have to meet people from all over the country. On the last night of the conference, Princeton gives out awards to the best delegations in the committee. These awards are based on public speaking, ability to compromise, knowledge, and respect.
The Model United Nations Club is a once in a lifetime opportunity for high school students to learn many skills that will be beneficial in college and beyond. Mrs. Lewick explains, students have the opportunity to learn important “research skills, communication skills, negotiation skills, writing skills, and critical thinking skills.” Being a part of Model UN is also an amazing opportunity for high school students to start looking at colleges and to see what college life is like. While at the conference, each high school was given the opportunity to have a tour of Princeton University’s campus. Students also had the chance to meet people who attend Princeton University and learn about their college experiences. For these reasons, participating in Model UUN is an educational and exciting experience for all those involved, and it is a great opportunity to gain experience in dealing with international relations.