By Peter Smith, Upper School Social Studies Teacher and Model UN Advisor
The Hague International Model UN Conference (THIMUN)
Twenty-one Park Tudor students participated in the 49th session of The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) in The Netherlands from January 27th through February 4th. In addition to engaging in the premier MUN conference in the world for high school students, the students toured Amsterdam twice, as well as The Hague.
Park Tudor is one of only eight US schools with a standing invitation to participate in THIMUN each year. The conference brought together 3,500 students from 100 countries. Park Tudor represented the Republic of Ireland on the Economic and Social Council. Additionally, our students were placed in the International Court of Justice, the Advisory Panel on the Question of the Near East, as well as MUNITY Press Corps photography team.
Students included: Adi Bhatt, Emily Button, Jaime Gomez Diez, Noelle Enkema, Kendall Garner, Alyce Hammer, Annabella Helman, Lucy Keller, Zeba Kokan, Mia LaBarge, Brian Li, John McClain, Megan Maar, Maya Mishra, Charles Neuman, Elizabeth Niculescu, Emma Norris, Eoin O’Neil, Alex Schiffer, Cameron Sumner, and John Vlahos, chaperoned by Mrs. Krouse, Mr. Scott and Mr. Smith.
The students were instrumental in forming merged resolutions (across 18 different committees with their own UN agendas) with multiple stakeholder delegates from across the globe; many of whose resolutions passed in voting procedures. They heard a refugee from Aleppo, Syria speak of his tribulations and his convictions, as well as his role starring in the film “Exodus: A Journey to Europe,” which was screened in the world forum theater where the conference was conducted.
In our formal reflection meeting, student remarks included,
“this experience opened my eyes both to the harsh reality of the refugee crisis…I am returning to the US as a more confident speaker…with a larger interest in international politics…”
“while in previous times in my life, I have shied away from putting myself out there, I gained the ability to share my viewpoint and even disagree with other delegates…skills which will be crucial in college and the job market…”
“I spoke in front of 200 people, which while a bit nerve-wracking for me, allowed me to give a speech I am very proud of…I am so grateful to my parents, chaperones, Park Tudor and the United Nations for enabling me to have these experiences in the past four years at MUN conferences…”
“I grew exponentially as a thinker and a speaker, thanks to my highly qualified peers…what I always gain from Model UN is a better understanding of the world; better because I have first-hand experience of the possibility of creating peace and prosperity for all people, little by little, clause by clause…”
“I have five newspapers packed in my suitcase as we leave The Hague, to remind me of the impact I made to the hundreds of people who bought the news each day…”
“I am truly humbled and blessed to have gotten the opportunity to attend THIMUN…since the eighth grade, I have associated success with attending The Hague Model UN…and I could not be more proud of my bloc’s hard work…”
“I will definitely take away significant validation that the fields of Biology and Environmental Science are the right ones for me…feeling the passion of fellow delegates as they spoke in unambiguous and non-anthropocentric terms about their concerns for our planet…”
Chicago Model UN Conference
In addition, 37 sophomores participated in the Model United Nations of the University of Chicago from February 2nd through February 5th. The students represented various nations and were assigned to multiple committees, as they simulated the United Nations agenda in session.
Reflection comments from participating students included:
“I enjoyed being part of an important process, which opened my eyes to how long it can take get things done in a democratic system…”
“MUNUC was such an eye-opening experience and I will forever cherish the connections I made and how I grew as a person…”
“the things I have learned as MUNUC will always stay with me; my knowledge of the world has broadened and I look forward to expanding my perspective in Georgetown and The Hague in following years…”
“I worked to voice my opinion as often as possible, while hearing other people’s ideas to try and incorporate them with my own…”
“I am ecstatic that I was able to contribute as much as I did to the resolution, but the most valuable take away was the new look on public speaking and social interaction…”
“I have grown to really love Model UN, which not only provides the chance to learn about real world crises, but also helps the individual develop into a stronger and more socially/academically active person…”
We wish to thank Pam Fischer, Laura Reysz and Gary Bender for their care and devotion to the students during the four day event.