Local Students Participate in Regional U.N. Conference

Model UNArlington Model U.N. Club members are, front row from left, Tyler McCombs, Varun Gopal, Milo Kiely-Song, Izaak Beusmans, Ansel Miller, Thomas Mayer; and back row from left, John Recroft, Jaeda Hamel, Isabella Liu, Jr. Adviser Claire Dickson, Oriana McKanan, Elizabeth Mulgrew de Laire, Jasmine Dimaculangan, and Sarah Snyder. Courtesy photo.

Arlington home-schooled sixth grader Jaeda Hamel was among 14 students representing the Arlington Regional Model United Nations Clubs at the recent BrookMUN middle school Model United Nations Conference held at Brookline High School, attended by nearly 200 area middle school students.

Hamel, in a second model conference, represented India on the Human Rights Committee, which was debating the topic of Universal Primary Education, a role for which she was awarded honorable mention for best delegate.

Other students representing the Arlington group at the conference included those who sat on the Economic & Social Council, which debated issues related to urban development: Oriana McKanan, a fifth-grade home-schooled student from Somerville, who represented Cambodia; John Recroft, a fifth-grade home-schooled student from Gloucester who represented Australia; Thomas Mayer, a Waltham resident and middle-school student at the Acera School in Winchester who represented China and; Elizabeth Mulgrew de Laire, a Carlisle resident and Acera School student who represented the Dominican Republic.

Other students were in the Disarmament & International Security Committee, which debated the issue of cyberwarfare. These students included Isabella Liu, a fifth-grade home-schooled student from Cambridge who represented India; Ansel Miller, a sixth grader who attends Andrews Middle School in Medford who represented Romania; Tyler McCombs, a sixth-grade home-schooled student from Saugus who represented Australia; Sarah Snyder, a Medford resident and Acera School student who represented China; and Izaak Beusmans, another Medford resident and Acera student who was an official observer in DISEC.

A fourth committee in which the Arlington group had students was the Historical Crisis Committee, which was reenacting the events of World War I. In this committee were Varun Gopal, a sixth grader at Ottoson Middle School who represented Japan; Milo Keily-Song, a fifth grader at Brackett School who represented the USA; and Jasmine Dimaculangan, a Medford resident and Acera student who represented Venezuela on the Historical Crisis Committee.

Accompanying the middle schoolers for this conference was Claire Dickson, home-schooled from Medford, who served as a junior adviser for this conference. Also serving as advisers were club Director Kim Kay Holt and parent Tammy McKanan.

The students prepared for this conference over a several months, studying their countries and their topics, and then their country’s specific position on their topic, as well as learning the rules of debate, the process and format for writing a resolution, practicing public speaking skills, learning debate skills and techniques, learning negotiation skills, and preparing to debate as the delegate from the country they were assigned to represent at this conference.

At the conference, they spent about five hours engaged in debate, and in many of the committees were faced with an unexpected crisis to handle amid a difficult debate process.

The Arlington Regional Model United Nations Clubs sponsors a middle school and high school groups that meet in Arlington throughout the school year and are open to any student of middle school/high school age, regardless of school attended.

The clubs participate in many activities throughout the year, including attending at least three Model UN Conferences locally during the academic year.

There is no cost to participate in the club, though there is a cost to participate in conferences — which varies from $25 to $170 for local conferences.

The club director is happy to try to help figure out a way to raise needed funds for conference fees for any students with a financial need.

The clubs will begin meeting immediately after school resumes in September, and will possibly meet for some social activities or topical conversation events this summer, and anyone interested in receiving more information should email either the Club Director, Kim Kay Holt, at kimkayholt at gmail.com or the club members’ direct email address: armun2013 at gmail.com (either one of the high school club members or the club director will reply to emails sent to this address).

The high school club is also at work on “MiniMUN III,” a one-afternoon, no advance preparation-required model United Nations experience specifically for fifth and sixth graders, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 2. For information, email armun2013 at gmail.com.


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