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Young diplomats

posted: Tue, Mar 28th, 2017

A group of seventh- and eighth-graders recently took a deeper look at issues facing the world and practiced the art of diplomacy at the Junior Model United Nations conference at Drew University. 

The 17 students, members of the school's gifted and talented program, were divided into delegations from different countries that addressed three global problems: women's education, nuclear proliferation, and climate change and sustainability. For about eight weeks before the event, each delegation researched its country and designated issue, then wrote a draft resolution that it would like to see passed.

Once at Drew, the MOMS delegations met with like delegations from seven other schools to hammer out the content and wording of final resolutions that would be later voted on by the model U.N. General Assembly. The delegations tried to realistically represent the unique positions and interests of the countries they represented. 

"We worked hard to prepare," said Josh Regala. "When we got there we realized we had the content to argue our points and be comfortable in what we knew." 

After the resolutions were finalized, it was time for the main event. One school delegation from each subcommittee spoke at the General Assembly and answered questions about its proposed resolution. Not all resolutions were greeted warmly. While it was disappointing for some students to see their hard work turned down by the other delegates, after the conference all the MOMS students understood that the experience was the important part.

Some students such as seventh-grader Siya Kulkarni had their eyes opened by learning about the global issues discussed and the problems facing other countries. Others, such as Siya's teammate, Aveena Khanderia, were genuinely inspired to find a way to make a difference in the world. All the students, however, felt the process had helped them grow. 

"I learned more about myself," said Victoria Tang. "I learned how to adapt and absorb information and create completely new ideas."

"It gave us a sense of the real world in a way," said Michael Mora. "It helped us learn more about skills that we'll have to use like compromise and public speaking."

Awards

Four of MOMS' delegations received special recognition at the conference.

The "Best Position Paper" award in the nuclear proliferation subcommittee went to the Netherlands' delegation which was composed of eighth-graders Aditya Menon, Vinay Jagadeesh, and Sumit Mistry.

Seventh-graders Aveena Khanderia and Siya Kulkarni won the "Best Position Paper" award in the climate change subcommittee.

Eighth-graders Tyler Chmiel, Michael Mora, and Josh Regala represented Poland and won an "Outstanding Delegation" award in the nuclear proliferation subcommittee. 

Also winning an "Outstanding Delegation" award for their work were Keegan, Akila Venkatrama, and Victoria Tang. The seventh-graders represented Spain in the climate change subcommittee.

More than 150 students from eight different schools took part in the model U.N.

Rebecca Hull-Clark teaches the MOMS gifted and talented students.

Mount Olive Middle School
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