Model United Nations Conference
-- Britt Brown '13
Students in Berkshire’s Model United Nations club (MUN) joined their peers in Mr. Gappa's 21st Century Global Politics class at the two-day Model United Nations Conference (MUNC) at Bard College at Simons Rock recently. "This is a terrific conference for us because it gives students who are new to Model U.N. a relatively comfortable place to start participating in all aspects of Model U.N., including research and debate," said Ms. McGovern, faculty advisor to the club. Berkshire students participated in General Assembly, African Union, and Crisis Committee simulations.
Students in the General Assembly talked about the issues surrounding the Gaza Strip, land in the Middle East that is surrounded by Egypt, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea. The particpants aimed to resolve human rights issues in a peaceful way through negotiations that would end with a final proposal that would specifically address Hamas, a militant group that took control of the Gaza Strip.
Students in the African Union addressed the problem of terrorism and infringement on human rights in Somalia. The conflict in Somalia had worsened since 2007, and al-Shabaab, a terrorist group, continued to carry out kidnappings and threatened to bomb missions in Kenya. In January 2007, the African Union Peace and Security Council sent African observers into Somalia to gather evidence, but not all observations were completed. The Council sought a progressive solution through negotiation, but faced doubts about the Union’s commitment to ending the conflict.
Students on the Crisis Committee ran a simulation of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 when the United States and the Soviet Union were on the verge of nuclear war after the Soviets placed nuclear warheads and military bases on Cuba, ninety miles from the coast of Florida. The committee was split up into two groups, the Americans and Soviets, and was charged with establishing a treaty that would end this conflict peacefully, as well as establish rules for future nuclear disarmament.
Click here to view a slideshow of images from the conference.
It was an exciting and fun experience for Berkshire students. "The conference went phenomenally,” said Matt Steiner ’12. “I am very proud of Berkshire's strong showing. We hope to take this momentum forward as we head to Chicago at the beginning of February." Next week, members of the Model U.N. Club will represent Greece at another conference, Model United Nations of the University of Chicago. “With more participants this year, this conference added better opportunities for discussion and procedural practice, which is important to our MUN club members as they develop skills for our larger upcoming conference,” added Ms. McGovern.
Berkshire students represented the school well, especially for the large number of students with no prior experience. "At least half of the students were new to Model UN, and they threw themselves into the experience,” said Mr. Gappa. “I thought our kids did a great job representing Berkshire School."
A number of Berkshire students were honored for their strong performance at the conference:
In the General Assembly committee--Social and Humanitarian:
Matt Steiner '12 (representing China),
Liza Bernstein '13 (representing Greece)
Christiena Auguste '14 (representing Japan)
Jae Seung Lee '13 (representing Yemen)
Dan Staker '12 (representing Saudi Arabia)
In the African Union Peace and Security Conference:
Addie Bullock '14 (representing Kenya)
Olivia Morrow '12 (representing Mali)
Stefan Nembard '12 (representing Ethiopia)
In the Cuban Missile Crisis:
USSR: Best Delegate
Eliza Farley '13 (as Rodion Malinosky)
USSR: Honorable Mention
Lewiz Xie '13 (as Anatoly Dobrynin)
Charlotte Parsons '12 (as Anastas Mikoyan)
USA: Best Delegate
Britt Brown '13 (as Dean Rusk)
USA: Outstanding Delegate
Elif Kasef '14 (as Robert McNamara)