Diplomacy While Earning A Diploma

Max Sotelo, film editor

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Once a week, students in the Model United Nations Club meet to discuss issues of international concern. Also known as Model UN, the club simulates the United Nations general assembly.

With Bella Sayegh, senior and president, and Emma Strouse, senior and vice president, members of the club choose countries and are given a task or question to resolve, based on that country’s policies towards the issue.

The diplomatic club teaches members about international relations and helps them practice their critical thinking and leadership skills.

“We get to choose countries and different committees and then we go to conferences and we get assigned like tasks or questions and we debate them based on what our country’s policies are towards that to try to come up with a resolution,” said Melissa Rimsza, a senior club member.

Model UN was created after the League of Nations in 1923, with the first Model UN conference held in 1949 at St. Lawrence University. At Cactus Shadows, Model UN was born four years ago, when a student named Abby Walker approached  the club’s current advisor, history teacher Steven Mitten, about bringing the club to campus.

“She approached me about that her sophomore year, and it took a year for her to organize, and she was just very motivated to do it,” said Mitten.

Starting in U.S. universities and colleges, the club soon spread through middle schools and high schools. Eventually, it reached the rest of the world. At conferences, members roleplay as delegates from their chosen country and are assigned a certain issue. Delegates get up and present the stance their country would take on that issue and at the end, form a resolution on a piece of paper.

When multiple resolutions are formed at the end of the given time period, members present their resolutions and than everyone votes on the best one.

“The point is that you’re not saying your own opinions on a topic, you have to do research on what your country’s stances are,” said Rimsza.

As of October, Cactus Shadows does not have a debate team, but Model UN could potentially be a replacement for that, as a large part of it revolves around debate.

“It’s basically practicing a debate from the viewpoint of a country,” said Kiran Gershenfeld, a senior club member.

Model UN meets Wednesdays at lunch in Mitten’s room. To be eligible to attend one of the conferences, members must submit three papers, two resolutions and a position paper. They are planning on sending delegates to attend Mesa Community College’s 20th annual Model United Nations simulation, which will be held on February 8-9th, 2019.

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