Seventeen students from the high school attended the Maine Model UN at USM Gorham May 17- 19. Representing the countries of Kiribati, Nepal, Singapore, Argentina, Tunisia, Guinea Bissau and the NGO Greenpeace in a variety of UN committees, the students worked hard to prepare to become delegates accurately representing their country’s positions. Along with 550 or so other Maine students, our delegates wrote position papers, argued for their positions in committee, signed on to resolutions and voted yea or nay during voting bloc.
Picture all of those high school students, decked out in Western business attire though the sweltering heat of the past week. Picture them filled with knowledge about the opening of the Northwest Passage, ending malaria in Africa, crafting a mineral rights regime for Mars, creating international protocols for helping refugees and women migrant workers and so much more.
A special treat was the closing address from Maine’s Independent Senator, Angus King. King praised the delegates for their meaningful work and urged them to become “eloquent listeners,” that compromise is not a dirty word and that to arrive at solutions to problems, you have to know the facts. Senator King reminded the students they do not have to solve the world’s problems alone, but that though the ripples from numerous, diverse acts of courage standing up for an ideal or speaking out against injustice, history is shaped.
It is quite a powerful thing to walk in to a committee made up entirely of high school students and see them taking the work so seriously and working so hard to understand and grapple with enormous, international conundrums. Later, one sees those same young people, having shed their dresses, jackets and ties, dancing, playing frisbee, eating ice cream, laughing and making new friends.
One cannot help feel the future is bright and in very good hands.
All of our high school students are welcome to join us for MeMUNC XX next May.