MINU-SJT 2013 Recap: Ten Years of Model UN Excellence

by Gabriela on February 25, 2013

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This article was written in collaboration with the Chairs of the conference’s other committees.

Last Saturday, February 16th, marked the tenth anniversary of the annual “Modelo Interno de Naciones Unidas del Colegio San Judas Tadeo”, or “San Judas Tadeo Model United Nations”, one of the oldest simulations in the flourishing Dominican MUN circuit. This conference has been key to making the school’s Model UN club one of the nation’s most prolific, training students as early as 4th grade in the world of International Affairs and Democracy. It is mandatory that a student participates in at least one of these simulations in order to be considered for one of the big conferences such as CILA or NYDRMUN.

Nearly one hundred and fifty students from Elementary, Middle and High School conveyed on that warm morning in SJT’s grounds to discuss some of our society’s most pressing challenges, such as the situation in Syria and reaching sustainable development in the Caribbean.

During the opening ceremony, which took place at the adjoining church, keynote speakers rose to deliver some inspirational words to the highly motivated students. Among the school’s speakers figured the club’s Secretary General, Alejandro Lama, who very appropriately expressed: “This is an activity designed for you, the entrepreneurial youth, the hope of our tomorrow”.

After the brief but efficient inauguration, the committees proceeded to have the group photos taken before leaving for their respective meeting rooms.

The committees and topics simulated were:

Economic and Social Council (4th Graders)

*Creation of inclusive and educational systems
*Cooperation in situations of risk and cases of natural disasters

General Assembly A (5th Graders)

*Sustainable development of the Caribbean nations for present and future generations
*Information and communications technology for development (ICTs)

General Assembly B (6th to 8th graders)

*Sustainable development of the Caribbean nations for present and future generations
*Information and communications technology for development (ICTs)

Security Council (High School)

*The situation in Syria
*Threats to international peace and security

This year marked a first in many aspects, most noticeably substituting the long running Dominican Senate committee for the ECOSOC, giving children an earlier exposure on how the United Nations works.

A very characteristic trademark of the conference is that every committee has its own crisis situation. Students from 4th to 8th grade had to work on saving 54 marines taken hostage by Nigerian pirates on an oil ship, whilst the Security Council had to deal with the burning of the White House and the abduction of the Obama family.

In the committee I presided, General Assembly A, the young elementary school children surprised me in more ways than one. They’d openly respect their country’s foreign policies, cite a relevant series of facts while intervening, negotiate like true policymakers and even talk tough on the crisis presented, suggesting life sentence for the perpetuators, immediate medical and emotional assistance for the victims and some even suggested the pirates be sentenced to death, something you really don’t expect to hear from 10 year olds. We of course guided them on how the UN truly works and on the GA’s real competencies, and they happily embraced all recommendations and feedback, putting them to practice in the next Regulated and Moderated Caucuses.

The children actually agreed to stay in committee until the crisis was solved and a resolution project was drafted. My co-chair and I reviewed their proposals, impressed with the amount of thought they put into every clause. The Secretary General even congratulated them on the admirable work they had done and the discipline they had maintained throughout the debate.

After a delicious lunch break, we were back in session discussing the topic of ICTs. Quality debates ensued, and another great resolution was drafted under the sponsorship of Canada, the Russian Federation and South Korea. With two approved resolution projects, we applauded the children for their wonderful work and moved over to placard signing and picture taking time. With the awards ceremony fast approaching, we made haste and were quickly seated in the auditorium.

Due to some constraints, my committee was the first one called to announce the awards. My vice-president and I excitedly picked up the the winners’ list, and the results were as follow:

Best Delegation: Canada
Distinguished Delegation: South Korea
Honorable Mention: Haiti
Best Speaker: Panama
Best Negotiating Skills: Ireland
Best Position Paper: United Kingdom

After a series of funny and emotional stories about some of the club members’s most successful and embarrassing moments, the tenth edition of the MINU-SJT concluded in a roar of applause, an accolade of compliments and a promise to bring many more surprises and be much better next year.

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