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Nueva’s middle school Model United Nations delegation recently returned from an incredibly successful conference in New York City. This year, the 34-student delegation represented Uzbekistan and Venezuela in a conference that hosted over 2,500 students from around the world.

Under the leadership of Nueva’s MUN program coordinator, Lora Saarnio, the middle school program has expanded in size and rigor over the last years. This year, the class was offered as both an academy and as a seventh and eighth grade elective led by upper school economics teacher Patrick Berger.

Several of the middle school delegates recently also attended the MUN conference hosted by our upper school MUN Club on March 11. This was the second MUN conference planned and organized by upper school students and they were excited to host a conference that emphasized the values of Nueva: fostering cooperation and collaboration, and offering participants resources to develop their MUN skills.

The topic was “The Rights of Stateless Persons,” and with the small number of delegates from four schools, students had a lot of opportunity to work in committees, participate in debates, and ask questions of experienced US MUN team.

“Our conference went really well,” said Nolan M., Nueva senior and conference organizer. “Debates were productive and the attendees were enthusiastic and engaged. As hosts, we were deliberate about providing resources and some coaching while ensuring that the delegates were driving the results.”

The middle school delegates who attended the Nueva-hosted conference said it gave them a great preview of what to expect. Several students said it was better than New York because they got to speak and play a more active role during committee sessions.

Day One: Traveling to New York — March 29
Students were outstanding travelers today — in particular, we noticed how they were patient and caring toward each other and their chaperones.

Day Two: Training and Guest Speakers — March 30
Students had a busy, full day of speakers. All of our speakers praised our students for posing difficult, insightful questions.

Our returning MUN students met with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in the morning while our new MUN students attended training. The IRC, which is responsible for resettling 10% of refugees in the United States, was a big hit with our students. During the hour-long presentation, the delegates answered and asked powerful questions related to refugees and displaced people around the world.

Next, the entire group traveled downtown to Wall Street via subway for our second speaker event, Teach for All. Teach for All is a global education group, which includes Teach for America. They organized interactive break-out groups aimed at engaging the students and sharing the goals of their institution.  Before leaving the neighborhood, we stopped to take photos of the iconic bull and the new, popular statue, Fearless Girl.

Finally, next to the renowned steps of the New York Public Library, we met with members of the Malala Fund. After hearing about the amazing work of Malala and her quest to bring education to the nearly 32 million school-age girls who are currently out of school, students asked thoughtful, pointed questions about the organization’s work, the challenges of effecting large-scale change, resistance, and the local and global impact of having more girls educated worldwide.
Day Three: Into the Fire — March 31
Students had their first day of the MUN conference. Situated on four floors of the Grand Hyatt conference center in midtown Manhattan, delegates worked hard to establish their position, form voting blocks, and put their knowledge of MUN protocol and procedures into practice.

A crisis erupted in the Security Council, power delegates emerged, and the struggle to be a sponsor or signatory on resolution drafts took shape.

During the evening, students went out for dinner and came back to the hotel to play board games, work on resolution drafts, or simply relax and catch up on sleep.


Day Four: Closing Ceremony and Celebration — April 1
The first part of Saturday was spent in committee, working to passing resolutions.  A UN resolution is a formal decision made by the UN, which its members have voted for and are expected to obey. Delegates work hard to make sure their country’s needs are met by the resolutions they help create.

After voting, the entire conference — nearly 3,000 students, chaperones, and staff members — marched down 42nd Street to the United Nations General Assembly Hall for the closing ceremony and announcement of award winners. Once everyone gathered, approximately sixty awards were handed out across thirteen committees. This year, as result of an incredible effort, six delegations from Nueva took home awards!


The 2017 International Middle School Model UN Conference Award Winners:

Seventh graders, Maya and Pascal: Secretary-General Award
Committee: Security Council (Venezuela)  
Topic: UN Peacekeeping Forces: Safety & Security

Eighth graders, Sian and Stephanie: Secretary-General Award
Committee: UNDP (Venezuela)
Topic: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Ana (8th) and Charlie (7th): Honorable Mention
Committee: GA-6 (Venezuela)
Topic: The Protection of Online Identity & Fundamental Human Rights

JoJo (8th) and Mia (6th): Honorable Mention
Committee: GA-6 (Uzbekistan)
Topic: The Protection of Online Identity & Fundamental Human Rights

Seventh graders, Akshar and Harrison: Honorable Mention
Committee: WHO (Venezuela)
Topic: Human Experimentation

Eugenia (8th) and Alanna (7th): Honorable Mention
Committee: FAO (Uzbekistan)
Topic: The Use, Production & Trade of GMOs & GMO Crops


SLIDESHOW I: Meeting with International Organizations


SLIDESHOW II: Time at the Conference


SLIDESHOW III: Out and About in New York City


 April 7, 2017



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