On March 5th, the Ramsey High School Model United Nations Team participated in the Saint Peter’s University Model UN conference for high school students. With outstanding leadership qualities in each committee by Ramsey’s delegates, RHS won the prestigious accolades in Model UN standards of Best Position Paper and Outstanding Delegation.
In my introduction alone, there are complex words of “committees,” “delegations,” a “position paper” that may have left you confused. You may already know what a delegation or a committee is, but have you heard of a position paper? What is a position paper? What is Model UN?
Model UN is not a competition to build a model of the United Nations but is a conference of numerous high school students who debate and negotiate as representatives of the member states of the United Nations. Numerous colleges alongside other high schools host their own conferences or competitions annually. Notably, colleges like Harvard, Yale, Cornell, MIT, Columbia, Washington in St.Louis, and many more have attracted hundreds of young high-school students to their conferences.
Before conferences, students are assigned individual countries and choose a specific committee. There are many different committees involved in Model UN, and each one has a distinct topic that relates to the committee’s purpose: achieve international peace. As an example, one student could be given the United States in the SOCHUM (Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural) Committee, where topics cover a variety of issues, such as the lack of transgender rights. The student may be assigned any other topic by the conference as long as it is related to the goals of the committee. In this case, because SOCHUM addressed social problems, transgender rights could be a potential topic. Another student may be chosen as Saint Kitts and Nevis in the CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) committee, where the topic may address female genital mutilation.
In order to prepare for conferences, students, or “delegates,” of respective countries will write position papers. Position papers are typically one-page and three paragraphs long, and they explain their country’s position/background in relation to the topic. Position papers enhance students’ abilities in research, it also allows students to look upon pertinent global issues. Using the position paper and their research about the topic and their country, students participate in the conferences.
Model UN conferences are judged solely on leadership, debate, research, and negotiation. In the conference, students who talk and bring forward specific topics to be discussed and are comfortable with public speaking have a high chance of winning awards. Furthermore, in Model UN, there are times when students need to negotiate with one another. For instance, there is a time called an “unmoderated caucus” in which students form “blocs,” or groups that have similar ideas or positions on the topic at hand. The leaders of these “blocs”, who lead discussions among the bloc members and negotiate with the people also have high chances of winning awards.
Of course, winning a gavel (the prize for best delegates) or an honorable commendation at a prestigious conference can be beneficial for the resume, but Model UN is not an activity where winning awards is the primary goal. Model UN exists to bring out leadership qualities in people who are not too confident with public speaking, to give experience to those deeply passionate about making a change in our global society. All the topics presented in Model UN, in any conference, correlate with issues in the current world. Learning about these issues is beneficial in enhancing school participation and knowledge regarding current events. All over the country exist conferences, friendships and closely-knitted relationships that are all made possible by Model UN.
If any student is interested in joining this new and extraordinary team here at Ramsey High School, please contact Mr. DeMartino, Mariana Steiner, Amy Rini, or myself.