Model United Nations, or Model UN, is an educational simulation where students learn about the United Nations, diplomacy, and international relations. All world history students participate in the Model UN, accumulating to around 500 students.

Unlike normal debates, students follow the procedures that the UN uses to address international problems. Students are encouraged to voice their opinions through writing and public speaking. They can also hear other people’s opinions on the matter before deciding on a plan of action.

History teacher Ann Pember explained that “at the beginning of the third quarter all world history students begin learning about the United Nations,”  including its history, its purpose, and the way it solves problems. Students learn about the process of parliamentary procedure, which is the way the UN acts as the world’s microphone on issues and looks to resolve conflicts. They will also gain insight into the Declaration of Human Rights.

Each student is tasked with researching the same topic of interest in different countries. This year all classes were either assigned to the topics of climate change, peacekeepers, or maternal health. The topics change each year and are decided by the Model UN organization. Model UN provides research and sources for students on the topics each year.

Students research the topic in their assigned country to understand what the current status of it is as well as what has been done previously to try to solve it.They will determine what still needs to be done to improve the country’s situation.  

After completing their research, students are tasked with writing a position paper based on their country’s stance on the assigned topic. They will then act as delegates from their country in the final simulation activity where around 100 students represent about 50 countries, and using parliamentary procedure they give an opening statement of their country’s position on the topic. Then they debate the issues, find allies, and eventually sponsor and vote on resolutions to try to solve the problems.  

The final simulation is run by the Greater Boston Model UN organization which takes place in the library over the course of about three hours. Model UN exposes students to pressing issues around the world and helps them to strengthen their leadership skills.  

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