Social Education 58(7), 1994, p. 434
National Council for the Social Studies
Our students' preparation included research at the UN Depository Library at the University of Minnesota (most states have similar collections of UN documents), some Internet searches, and traditional researching. Our eight students in April 1994 represented two countries: Cuba and Nigeria.
A number of committees met simultaneously during half of the four-day event. One of our Cuban delegates was anxious to arrive in time to lobby with other delegates about the agenda item in the First Political Committee which dealt with Cuba's desire to have the United States lift economic sanctions on Cuba. Other delegates were concerned with issues of capital punishment and embryonic research in the Human Rights Committee. Another major issue among the many Irish nationals in Dublin was the topic of Northern Ireland. The Security Council dealt with the issue of Bosnia while the Environment Committee debated rain forest topics.
For these students, this international Model UN will be a highlight of their school experience. They will remember feeling a bit ill-at-ease when they were confronted with many more politically aware European students. They will convey some of the sense of the awesome power of the United States and the hint of resentment at that power which many European students expressed when they role-played the United States in the Model UN. These American students will remember being invited to elementary and junior high school classes at home to talk about their trip. They will no doubt help to kindle the desire to participate in the Model UN among future generations of Minnesota youth.
And that won't be financially out of reach for students in this school district in the middle of the country because the administration has for a number of years set aside the per-pupil monies generated by exchange students in the district to defray costs for teachers to plan and chaperone international programs such as this Model UN in Dublin.
Susan Travis teaches at Woodbury High School in the St. Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota.