More than 25 Patch High School students traveled to the Jan Neruda School in Prague, Czech Republic, to take part in a mock United Nations conference last month.
The students, either in the Model United Nations class or belonging to the PHS MUN Club, spent the first semester of the school year in the classroom learning in-depth about geopolitics, parliamentary procedure and international affairs from PHS MUN instructor Lorean Preuss.
“[Modeled United Nations] is conducted so that students engage in activities related to topics and issues, and debate them in an organized manner, as if they were part of the real MUN. They practice researching topics and countries’ backgrounds, the special writing style used in the UN and debating, in preparation for the conference,” Preuss said.
The Prague conference brought together students from a variety of countries, including France, Egypt, Ukraine, Russia and the United States. Students were assigned countries to represent and were then divided into committees where they discussed current issues, and proposed and passed resolutions.
“I was one of the delegates for human rights, and we focused on children’s rights, racism and discrimination. But there were also committees such as social, cultural, economical, environmental and security council,” said PHS senior Aly Littlejohn.
Student-delegates are expected to represent their country as realistically as possible.
“Basically you did what your country would do as a delegate and put aside your own beliefs,” Littlejohn said.
More experienced student-delegates can find themselves heading up a committee.
“I’ve been in MUN three years and this year I had the luxury of being a chair, which means I oversaw a committee of about 20 students who worked on forming a resolution, basically a piece of legislation at the United Nation level,” said PHS senior Jake Brooke.
Brooke’s committee tackled issues dealing with regulating global financial markets. “What they came up with was very innovative,” he said.
The conference helps to prepare students for positions that they may hold in the future.
“I’m very interested in pursuing a career in law and politics and plan to do congressional staff jobs. [MUN] taught me all about parliamentary procedure and unquestionably helped me improve my debating skills. I think it’s a monumental help for what I want to pursue,” Brooke said.
The conference also gave PHS students the opportunity to experience the cuisine, shopping, and history of Prague.