Six Archbishop Williams High School students recently participated in the Model UN conference at the University of Mass., Lowell, addressing and providing solutions to worldwide problems such as the Syrian refugee crisis.
Archbishop Williams students assumed the role of officials from the nation of Iceland, joining other students from throughout the state who represented countries such as Australia, Egypt, France, Japan and many others from the international community.
In preparation for the event, the students prepared a two page research paper and a 45 second speech which included resolutions for the organization to consider. Those resolutions were debated in small groups serving as UN committees.
“Not only did I learn about the positions of various countries, but also how countries can come together to support the Syrian refugees who are oppressed people,” said senior Karthikeyan Arumugam. “Though we may have different opinions from the actual UN representatives, we all contributed and approached the problem like the actual delegates would.”
“I liked how everyone was very civil during their responses and how articulate they were giving their responses,” said freshman Imuetiyan Eweka. “It was very interesting how high school students like myself are taking these issues very seriously and working towards finding common ground.”
The Archbishop Williams group and the roles they represented included: freshman Imuetiyan Eweka (World Health Organization); sophomores Timothy Liu (Environmental Programs), Zachary Zhu (Economic and Social Counsel), Viola Han Xu (Special Committee on Women); seniors Karthikeyan Arumugam (UN High Commission on Refugees) and Timothy Riley (NATO Counsel).
Riley, who serves as chapter president, worked with Social Studies teacher and Model UN Moderator Ms. Jordan Grubb to bring the organization to AWHS.
“I think it’s valuable because it keeps students informed about global issues, while allowing them to strengthen their research and public speaking skills,” Riley said. “The best part of the experience was when we had the final group of students all working together with clear effort and commitment.”
The conference was beneficial and relevant to the students for a number of reasons, said, Ms. Grubb, who also noted the value of building on research and public speaking skills.
“They also learn about diplomacy, global awareness, and especially moral responsibility as global citizens - the human dimension to geopolitics, and how to put themselves in other people’s shoes,” she said.