There was nothing more inspirational to the nine members of the Glenbrook North Model UN team than filling the seats of world leaders. The team had gathered in the United Nations General Assembly Hall for closing ceremonies of the National High School Model United Nations Conference in New York City.
The team was also an inspiration itself, as it earned a remarkable Third Place nationally at Model UN. The GBN Model UN team of nine students is small but mighty. The club of 25 members had competed in regional competitions until this year when they decided to compete on the global stage.
During the three-day event, they joined thousands of students from 75 countries to participate in simulations of real-world issues and debates. The students serve as delegates and simulate the work of UN committees. As delegates, they research positions of the country, debate issues and role play on the committees.
“The days are long and the work is arduous, said GBN student Daniel Reisner. “It was a nonstop cycle of writing, talking and debating,” he said.
“It was intense,” said GBN student Campbell Sharpe. “We discussed one topic for three days straight with the same people. When we got back to the room every night we would organize meetings with other delegates for the next morning before committee.”
The group represented New Zealand and discussed global topics that the small but influential country faces. “Different countries have so many different views that creating consensus and compromise is hard, but when you achieve it it’s wonderful, said GBN junior Sarosh Nagar.
Besides learning about the complexities of international politics and world issues, students found that the conference and Model UN prepared them for much more. “Model UN taught me critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as forced me to make my writing more concise, active and direct. It also opened my eyes to the depth and complexity of global topics,” said GBN student Kacie Leidwinger.
“This is an awesome accomplishment especially since it was our first time there,” said GBN social studies teacher Jerome Hoynes who with Michael Rast are sponsors of the club. The team meets weekly and is student run, said Hoynes. “Students run the meetings, they develop the topic ideas, talk about how to strategize, how to do their best in committee and they teach the new students,” he said.
At Model UN, the delegates are judged on diplomacy, negotiation, speaking skills, research and committee facilitation. “To be so small and win at that level, means every one of our students must have done very well in each of their committees,” said Hoynes.
In addition to sitting in the seats of world leaders discussing the very same issues they do, the students were also invited to the permanent diplomatic mission of New Zealand. The mission is like the consulate and houses diplomats, negotiators, analysts and advisors working on behalf of New Zealand. The students met the Deputy Director and heard directly on the issues of the small island nation.