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Young diplomats take home awards

posted: Wed, Mar 14th, 2018

MOMS students recently participated in the Junior Model United Nations conference at Drew University and took home four awards.

The model U.N. gave students an opportunity to immerse themselves in issues now facing the world and a chance to practice the art of diplomacy. The students were divided into delegations from different countries and each delegation addressed one of three global problems: education, nuclear proliferation, and clean water. The young diplomats spent months researching their countries and designated issues, then wrote draft position papers and resolutions that they would like to see passed.

Once at Drew, MOMS’ delegations met with like delegations from 10 other New Jersey middle schools to hammer out the content and wording of final resolutions that would be later voted on by the model U.N. General Assembly. It was two hours of debating, collaborating, and compromising as the delegations tried to realistically represent the unique positions and interests of the countries they represented.  

“What was really interesting was how different opinions were,” said Akila Venkatraman.

The students saw that even topics such as nuclear proliferation were more complex and nuisanced than they first thought.

“There were a lot of people in favor of eliminating all nuclear weapons,” said Yogesh Mohapatra, part of the delegation representing Colombia. “But some wanted to keep them for security. There was also the issue of how countries could monitor each other’s disarmament.”

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.

“We learned what’s happening in the world,” said Molly Kahan. “It was a great representation of how the U.N. works. Before this, I wasn’t really sure exactly how things got done.”

“You’ve got something [nuclear weapons] that could kill everyone on the planet,” Bryan Thomas said. “When you find a way to stop it, you feel like you are actually helping, that you can help. It feels really good.”

Ann Greszczak teaches the MOMS gifted and talented program. Prior to the competition, she led students on a field trip to the United Nations in New York to help them better understand its importance and the way it functions.

The Junior Model United Nations conference was co-sponsored by the New Jersey Consortium of Gifted and Talented Programs, Inc. and Drew University Political Science and International Relations department.

The winning MOMS delegations, countries of representation, and topics were:

Best delegation, Philippines, Water

Molly Kahan

Grace Lazzarotti

Bryan Thomas


Outstanding delegation, United States, Education

Jenna Alessandrini

Aanya Khanderia

Victoria Morris

Anish Patel 


Best Position Paper, Colombia, Nuclear

Sammil Panda

Yogesh Mohapatra

Rahul Swaminathan


Best Position Paper, Argentina, Education

Katie Keegan

Olivia Aghabi

Akila Venkatraman


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