By April 20, 2018, CNN found that there had already been 20 school shootings in the United States that resulted in casualties. In 2017, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported a thirteen percent increase in cases, according to Polaris. The world is currently faced with several fatal issues that are generally avoided as topics for discussion. Today, many are taught to not voice their opinions, in order to avoid tension or debate. However, the issues that plague our world can only be solved through discussion.
Model United Nations promotes the discussion of topics that can be considered taboo or inappropriate for conversation. In a time when students are often told not to discuss political or social issues in school, MUN allows students to participate in discussions about the problems within today’s society.
“It’s important to voice your opinions, and if people are willing to have a peaceful discussion about what they think is right and wrong, then that’s fine,” said high school student Ivan Vasilyev of Culver City, California.
Some issues that have been discussed at Model UN conferences include forced labor, illicit arms trade, sustainable energy, and religious intolerance. Typically, students are unable to discuss topics like these with their peers, for fear of being ostracized or creating conflict. However, MUN creates a forum for these issues to be discussed. Though students may have to fight for policies against their own beliefs during committee, MUN allows for them to form and develop their opinions by presenting all sides to an issue.
Gabby Thompson, a high school student from Holmdel, New Jersey, believes the discussion of differing views on social issues is important to encourage in schools.
“I believe that listening to other people’s opinions is vital in becoming a considerate and non-judgemental person,” Thompson said.
At a time when school shootings, hate crimes, and acts of mass violence occur on a monthly basis, students should be encouraged to listen to all opinions, rather than ignore them. MUN allows students to discuss the effects of and solutions to the political and social issues that are prevalent in today’s world.
“If we don’t talk about it, we are confining ourselves to only think about our opinion and not others’, therefore limiting ourselves and living in our own bubble,” Thompson said.