This guest post was provided by GC: Chicago Secretary-General Clara Spera.
This year marked the 10th year of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) Global Classrooms program in Chicago. The Keynote Speaker for the one-day Middle and High School conference was Gillian Sorenson, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation. Global Classrooms Chicago is dedicated to serving students from Chicago Public Schools, and the Conference’s Opening Ceremonies stressed the pedagogical mission of GC Chicago and the UNA-USA. The Conference is not meant to be competitive or high-stakes but, rather, the culmination of a year’s long worth of work through the Global Classrooms curriculum. Ms. Sorenson encouraged the delegates to engage actively with the world around them.
In Secretary-General Clara Spera’s Opening Ceremonies speech, she stressed that Model UN, as an activity, doesn’t actually solve anything: delegates leave to go home, and there are still all the same problems out in the world. Instead, MUN can transform the individual delegate who can then engage actively with the world around her and change the world:
Model UN will not change the world, and Model UN certainly won’t save it. You will all leave today, and nothing will have changed out there: there will still be war, genocide, malnutrition and poverty.
So…what’s the point?
What Model UN can do, is to change you. You will be changed by this experience, even if the world outside you isn’t.
What you learn here today will help you grow as an individual and perhaps help you to, later, change the world yourself. Whether one day you’ll work for the United Nations, for the government, or in any other job, we at GC Chicago hope to offer you substantive lessons and to provide a catalyst for change within yourself to then, in turn, change the world.
GC Chicago included seven committees, three middle school committees (UNSC, UNCHR and UNESCO) and four high school committees (UNSC, WHO, UNEP and CSTD). The staff included undergraduate students from University of Chicago, University of Illinois and Chicago and DePaul University.
There were two exciting additions to GC Chicago 2012. For the first time, the Conference included full-fledged crisis material in three committees (both Security Councils, and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development). The conference also introduced a Press Corps element: three staffers served as a pseudo-Press Corps, and they reported on each committee and produced a Conference Chronicle which distributed to all delegates at the end of Conference.
The Secretary-General’s Awards (Best Delegation) went to: Calmeca Academy Middle School (MS Award) and the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (HS). Best Delegate awards also went to: Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, LaSalle II Magnet School, Collegiate Scholars Program of the University of Chicago. GC Chicago also gives out Best Position Paper Awards. Delegations taking those home included: Volta Elementary School, LaSalle II Magnet School, Williams Elementary School, Thomas Kelly High School, Bogan High School, Solorio Academy High School.
Congratulations to all delegates, advisors, and staff at GC: Chicago! GC Chicago 2012 also marked the end of some very long and amazing MUN careers; it was the last conference for Mrinalini Ramesh, Disha Malik, Erin Britton, and Rohan Sandhu. (And Clara!)
Check out pictures from the conference below!