The Archbishop Williams High School chapter of Model United Nations is barely two years old, yet it has nearly doubled its membership, tripled its conference participation, and is planning to expand membership to grades 7 & 8 students next year.
“The reason the Model UN is such a good program is that it would not run if it were not student driven,” said Social Studies Department Chair and club moderator Jordan Bullock. “It wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t true that every student there really wanted to be there.”
The chapter had humble beginnings just last school year when Tim Riley ‘17 approached Bullock about forming a chapter. Bullock agreed, and with a committed group of students, has facilitated the chapter’s growth to 10 students.
Most recently, the club attended the Boston College High School 26th Annual Model UN Conference on March 3. That conference provided each student the opportunity to assume the role of a delegate from a UN member state or an organization working with the UN. Leading up to the conference, the students had to conduct research and write a position paper on topics such as: genocide in Myanmar, global gender inequality, disarmament and terrorism world wide, the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and pay for college athletes.
The conferences are non-competitive, but they do recognize individual students for excellence. Sophomore and chapter Vice President Imuetiyan Eweka, who represented Iran in the discussion on gender equality, was awarded an Honorable Mention certificate for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement - her second HM this school year.
“She was awarded for the way she presented her work,” said Bullock. “Students have to present their positions persuasively and work toward collaborative goals with people they may or may not agree with. Imuetiyan clearly impressed the judges on those counts.”
Eweka, now in her second year with Model UN, welcomed the challenge of addressing her topic.
“We had to come up with a resolution that would fix the issues on how women’s rights are interpreted by other countries,” Eweka said. “In my committee, I had to come up with a proposal that would benefit everyone. When I first saw this committee, I knew instantly that was the committee for me. With the rights of women being neglected these days, I felt that I could bring a strong resolve to this growing tribulation.”
Eweka enjoyed working with Model UN students from throughout the region. “Beside the committees, I also had the opportunity to meet students from other nearby Catholic and public schools, students who had the same interests and enthusiasm as me,” she said.
Junior and chapter Secretary/Treasurer Silvianna Zhao of Quincy, said the conference was the “highlight” of her year. “I look forward to seeing all of my Model UN friends in one place while we debate world issues,” Zhao said. “I learn about the struggles and the conflicts that many people do not see on television or on the screens of their phones, so my friends and I have to think on our feet for solutions. It’s a process and a ton of work, but incredibly fulfilling.”
The topics and the AWHS students who worked on them were: Genocide in Myanmar - juniors Haley Donaghey (Bridgewater) and Joanna Gordon (Braintree) representing Brazil, junior Erica MacSweeney (Canton) representing Myanmar, freshman Christina Zhao (Quincy) representing China; Paris Peace conference of 1919 - junior and chapter President Han Viola Xu (Braintree) as T.E. Lawrence of the United Kingdom, junior Pauline Tran (Randolph) as U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing, junior Huy Dan Tran (Stoughton) representing Iran on the UN Disarmament and International Security Committee; Gender Equality - sophomore Imuetiyan Eweka (Randolph) representing Iran; NCAA Mid American Conference Commission - junior Silvianna Zhao (Quincy) as Dr. John Steinbrecher.
In April, the school’s chapter will attend the three-day University of Mass Lowell Model UN Conference - the chapter’s third conference of the year and its first multi-day event. Schools from eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire will participate. AWHS delegates will all represent one country this time - Kazakhstan - but will serve on various committees to address a number of issues.
With the program’s success this year, Bullock is planning on expanding it next year to include students from the Grades 7 & 8 Program. “The younger you can get them involved, the better,” she said.