Middle School Geopoliticians Debate in the Big Apple

7th grader Jack, center, holds forth during dinner out in New York

7th grader Jack, center, holds forth during dinner out in New York

By 11th grader Max

Meridian's curriculum is remarkably worldly and thoughtful, and it often works from questions like, "How does this matter to us and our world?" But Model United Nations is a really special opportunity to reach out and ask the question "How does this matter to someone else and their world?" Having participated in Model UN for several years as delegates, myself and two of my peers, Madi and Isaac, are excited to teach a middle school Model UN class for the second year running. From December through the last weekend in March, eight of our students immersed themselves in Lithuania's geopolitical stance on issues ranging from combatting ISIS to protecting intangible cultural artifacts. In the months before that, our class focused on presenting ideas clearly and constructively within the confines of formal debate.

All these skills that we've honed in our weekly lunchtime class paid off at the Global Classrooms Initiative International Model United Nations conference. On March 31, we all headed down to New York City, where our middle school delegates debated, ruminated, and collaborated on multilateral United Nations style legislation with other middle schoolers from around the globe. They delivered impassioned speeches, negotiated with rivals and allies, and hammered out the details to multifaceted plans to better the world.

One of the things that we stress most strongly in our MUN curriculum is that participating is an exercise in putting your personal beliefs on the back burner and embodying another position that is potentially completely different from your own. While this task is difficult, it helps mold our students into empathetic, global citizens who are able and willing to responsibly inform and educate themselves on issues that matter to them. Passing down the knowledge and traditions of the Model United Nations club has been a joy and an honor this year, and the three of us can't wait to give it another go in 2017!