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Hofstra’s Model U.N. opens the floor to high schoolers

Hofstra’s Model U.N. opens the floor to high schoolers

Pictured are delegates from the SOCHUM committee voting on an amendment to the human trafficking working papers.

Photo courtesy of: Melanie Haid/ Hofstra Chronicle

Hofstra’s Model United Nations club joined forces with Model U.N. high school students to discuss important global issues and find mock resolutions to real topics during a three-day conference held in C.V. Starr Hall this past weekend. The conference was modeled similarly to the way in which the U.N. is run and participants discussed multiple social and environmental problems.

Model U.N. is essentially an organization in which participants take the role of a certain country’s delegation and are presented with a relevant global issue that pertains to a specific country or the world. Committees discuss a solution to the dilemma in depth, which goes into a working paper that is then typed up and debated again.

“You’re going in to set a problem and you have to stay in your country’s role,” Miranda Maliszka, a freshman environmental resources major, said. “Your general goal is to write a resolution for your topic.”

Throughout the event, students revise their original papers as they add and omit portions during an amendment process in which all countries can offer their suggestions for alterations. Maliszka served as a member of the dais, the moderators and directors of the discussion.

The conference began with an opening ceremony on Friday, March 2. It featured Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy magazine’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Hofstra’s Model U.N. students ran the event, serving as chairs and dais.

“We’re the staff of the whole thing. We have a couple of professors going around, but it’s mostly our doing,” said Joseph Tyrie, a freshman business economics major. “I’m a dais myself, so I’m keeping time and taking notes and things of that nature.”

The high school Model U.N. delegates sat on committees including Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), which discussed human trafficking and women’s rights in the Middle East; Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), which went over climate change in terms of economic issues; and crisis committees for World War I and the Syrian war.

“They’re so smart,” said Alexa Osner, a freshman public policy and public service major, who was a chair in the SOCHUM committee. “It’s a beginner conference, so though they don’t know the whole scope of what the U.N. could do, they do have a great grasp of it – I mean, they’re discussing solutions to human trafficking.”

Along with problem solving, both Model U.N. groups gained experience about how global politics cooperate and resolve pressing issues. Maliszka said it gave her “a new perspective”, and that the weekend was a learning experience for everyone involved.

The conference concluded on Sunday with a closing ceremony, and most Model U.N. members agreed that while the event was long, it was beneficial. Osner was excited to be a chair for the committee, and went on to say that it was great to bring global issues to Hofstra’s campus.

“It’s my first year doing this,” she said. “It’s really cool to get that learning curve and observe.”

Even though it is essentially “roleplay for the U.N.,” according to Maliszka, it is very important for young people to be aware of what is going on not only outside of their own countries but also how other countries handle different situations.

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