On Tuesday October 23rd, John Marshall students started a new club. At 3:03, high schoolers flooded into Mr. Luedke’s classroom eager for the very first meeting of JM Model United Nations. Some had previous experience in speaking and debate, others had none at all. But everyone came with a shared passion and curiosity for JM’s newest extracurricular.
The meeting started with junior captain Lap Nguyen reading out announcements from a slideshow. His prepared speech is periodically interrupted by questions and over excited commotion. As the slideshow finishes people one by one begin to stream out of the classroom. After most people have left I go and talk to the captain’s to hear what they have to say. The more I listen the more I understand the passion of these student leaders. They explained the process of Model UN, telling me it was an internationally recognized conference that allows students to explore diplomacy, negotiation and international events in an academic setting. The way the conference is set up requires individual schools(called chapters), to select a member state represented in the United Nations and simulate world events from the position of that country. Every chapter selects a different country and meets with other chapters to simulate a UN conference. Each chapter then divides into smaller delegations that are each assigned to an organ of the UN bureaucracy to negotiate everything from trade deals to human rights violations. During the entire process each student plays a character and expresses the views of the country they represent. An entire conference takes three days from beginning to end. Beyond that, preparing for a conference takes months of work. As of now the first conference for the JM Model UN team is scheduled to begin March 23. The team is scheduled to have their first practice simulation on Tuesday November 6th, regarding the Yemeni civil war. Registration is still open and newcomers are encouraged to attend.