Since the start of the New Year, Brooks School's Model United Nations team has been researching, studying and preparing position papers for the annual Boston Invitational Model United Nations Conference (BosMUN) and now they're ready to put all that prep into play.
On February 9, the team will head down to the city for the weekend to debate and give speeches at the 17th annual Model U.N., hosted by Boston University at the Boston Park Plaza hotel.
Brooks' team (shown partially below) includes:
Sebastian Alvarez '18
Will Bergeron '18
Amolina Bhat '19
Max Charlamb '18
Max Kemper '18
Colin Khater '19
Alex Kluchnik '18
Harriet Kumah '21
Julia Larkin '20
Diane Lee '18
Martin Li '19
David Tan '20
Tramie Tran '19
Katie Warren '19
Erika Wilson '20
Lami Zhang '19
Skyler Zheng '20
A high-school-age program — in which teams are paired with at least one country that they represent in speeches and collaboration within committees — the conference is designed to give teens an international perspective on economic development, human rights, policy matters and security, among other issues. (Before they depart for the conference, each student must submit two position papers about topics assigned to their committee).
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"I'm looking forward to finding solutions to big problems in the world," said Erika Wilson '20, assigned the topic of finding solutions to Sudan's water problem. "It was a lot of research, but I think it's going to be interesting to find out about the different solutions that people come up with. [And I hope to] have fun and learn something new."
During the three-day conference, students will participate in crisis training, delegate training and committee sessions with more than 1,500 other students from schools throughout New England.
"This is my first time going to M.U.N. and I'm going to be participating in a committee that is purely Spanish speaking," said Sebastian Alvarez '18. "That's exciting to me because it shows how Brooks is able to cater to Spanish speaking students in ways most schools can't."
Teammate Amolina Bhat '19 enjoys being on the team because she thinks it's "interesting to have the opportunity to research and learn about events and crises happening all around the world that we don't normally talk about," she said. "For example, this year I learned about the Crisis in Venezuela and the Civil War in South Sudan. I hope this weekend will further encourage me to continue to learn about current events around the world."
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Bhat's favorite part of the weekend, though, is "getting to hang out with my friends and the group dinner we have," she shared. "And I also love talking about the people in our various committees and what fascinating, and sometimes ridiculous, things that they say during committee."
Brooks School's Model U.N. branch was founded in 2006 by Graham Ober '08 and Ariel Cho '08. And whether students are participating for their first or third time, there is always opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.
"I'm a first timer so I'm looking forward to meeting people who share the same interests as I do and I hope to learn from those people," said David Tan '20. "I like the support from a lot of people who share the same goals as I do on my team."
Returning member Colin Khater '19, on the other hand, said he is "looking forward to using my foundation from last year and trying to take it to the next level this year to get more out of the conference itself." How so? Model U.N. "gives me an opportunity to take a look at the huge issues our entire planet is looking at," he said. "It definitely makes me realize how lucky I am to have a place like Brooks to be able to go to, yet it opens my eyes to the huge world outside of our campus and how to make progress on that ... It's really great."
But regardless of what happens during the conference, club co-advisor Michelle Musto said she's already proud of the dedication that the team has shown. "I am always impressed that students make the time to fit Model U.N. into their very busy schedules," she explained. "Model U.N. takes a great deal of research about contemporary events in world politics -- and we don't have a class period or even a weekly club time to meet so students have to try to fit the work in and meeting time around their very busy winter schedules."
All of that effort will serve the students well after the conference concludes, too. "Model U.N. is a great way to perfect your speaking skills and to learn about the International politics," said Musto. "Students have to stay on top of world events as they are changing which helps them keep track of the news and better understand how the world is interconnected. Participants also learn about compromises," she added. "It is great preparation for working in groups and leadership where compromise and incentives often work better than orders."
Not that it's all serious work. "The team has learned a lot about their countries in anticipation and now the fun begins," said Musto. "Students get to speak, compromise, meet new people, and learn new perspectives, and when they really immerse themselves in their role, they have a lot of fun!"
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