The Loyola Model United Nations Club has grown and attended conferences despite having to do so online. Through the Model UN Club, students learn about the world, current events and collaboration among countries.
Model UN moderator and social science teacher Christopher Perkins explains, “Our club attends conferences put on by other high school and college Model UN teams. At these events, Loyola’s student delegates are assigned countries to represent and committees to partake in. Each committee focuses its discussion on a different world issue. Each student has the responsibility of learning more about his or her assigned country and then conveying that country’s perspective on the topic being addressed at the conference.”
At Model UN conferences, students act as delegates from their countries and work with delegates from other schools to come up with solutions and resolutions to a problem. Some of these problems include peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and hunger, economic development and globalization. The work simulates what happens in the real United Nations.
Many historical thinking skills apply to Model UN.
Perkins remarks, “Studying history can provide some helpful background for participants. Having foundational knowledge about different regions of the world, historical causes of current challenges and the past role of the UN in world affairs can help a student to better place things into context.”
The Model UN Club at Loyola has greatly grown in numbers during online learning, currently having 15-20 members on its team and typically attending 4-5 conferences a year.
Sophomore Michael McElhenney, president of the club, said, “Mr. Perkins has done an incredible job expanding the club during COVID and holds weekly meetings via Zoom on Wednesday afternoons at 3 p.m. I see our club continuing to grow over the next few years.”
The club recently competed at conferences at UCLA and Santa Clara. At Santa Clara, three Loyola students won awards for their performances. Next, they plan on competing at Marymount High School and USC. The Model UN Club has also received training from the USC Model UN team.
McElhenney said, “This past fall, I reached out to the USC Model UN team and organized weekly outreach and training for our club. This training has proven very valuable for our members because USC has one of the top teams and high school conferences in the US. We will be attending the USC conference in March.”
Model UN helps students to develop skills that go beyond the club and into everyday life that can be applied in any situation.
Michael McElhenney said, “Model UN is a great way to improve researching, writing and public speaking skills. No experience is necessary to join the club. All conferences are optional so you can sign up for as many or few as you’d like—it’s up to you!”