Model UN Wins Best Middle School at International Competition


Photo by Elizabeth Schinstock

Longfellow’s Model UN team won Best Middle School at the International conference at TJ.

Students are often told that they will be running the world one day.  If that sounds like a daunting task, there is one club that can help you get a head start on solving the world’s problems: Model U.N, MUN for short.

“Model UN is a simulation of the UN General Assembly and its other multilateral bodies where students perform an ambassador role while debating topics such as gender equality, climate action, global health, and more,” describes the official website United Nations Associations Of The United States Of America.

Longfellow’s MUN is run by Kathyrn Thomas and sponsored by science teacher Elizabeth Schinstock. Undersecretary-General of the MUN, student Danneke V. describes the traits needed to succeed in the club.

“You have to be able to project and talk to an audience while asserting your position because you need to be a leader. You have to take action and be fearless,” she explained.

Members are assigned a country to represent and then write position papers they bring to conferences where they debate the issues with members from other schools. When in a competition, everyone is required to show up as if it is a business meeting, wearing formal business attire.

One by one, people representing their countries come up and give a speech on their topic and how to address the issue. Though it is described as a debate, it is not organized like a typical debate competition.  Instead, members give their speeches and sit down. Students don’t argue against other students. There are “chairs,” or judges, who decide who the best delegates are. Along with that, chairs keep track of the motions in the moderated caucuses.

Students who sign up will usually get to choose their committee—options include the crisis committees or the general assembly.  Based on the number of delegates scheduled to attend, they are assigned countries, then proceed to research and write their position papers.

“You go up and talk about different solutions to these problems and different ways to solve these problems in things called unmods (unmoderated caucuses),” Danneke explained.

Danneke recommends becoming comfortable with your partner and asserting your positions together while showing confidence. Being able to talk boldly to your audience is important. She also added that you have to do a lot of research on your country.

The team as a whole, and it’s members have won many prizes over the year, most notably, the Secretary General Award for Best Middle School at the TJ International Conference.  Members who have taken home awards include Kathryn T., Brynn L., Hannah A., Sara S., Mustafa H., Eesha K., Ramez, Artin, Annika S., and Faraaz R.  

With such a stellar performance at competitions, it seems Longfellow students may actually be able to tackle some of the world’s problems in the future.