Model United Nations Begins its First Year In-Person


Photo courtesy / iStock

Model UN is an environmen that encourages students to engage in a simulation of international politics.

Sarah Allard, Writer

Tomorrow’s world leaders are getting their start at the Model United Nations club in portable 6. Revived at Coronado during the 2020-2021 school year, Model UN is an opportunity for students to engage in public speaking, debate, conflict resolution, and critical thinking, all while learning about global issues and public policy.

The real United Nations is an international organization that is composed of 193 member states who meet regularly to discuss important global issues, such as the maintenance of international peace and security. The main governing body of this organization is the UN General Assembly where member states regularly confer and make key decisions for the UN.

“What we are is a simulation of that delegation, all of that diplomacy and conflict resolution,” Model UN President Rodrigo Perez said. “Our chapter, specifically, is a UNA-USA [United Nations Association of the United States of America] chapter, meaning that we are also involved in community service and advocacy.”

At meetings, members hold simulated General Assembly debates among themselves, with small groups of students working together to represent the interests of an assigned country on issues such as international security, gender equality, and international cooperation. These debate simulations allow participating students to practice their public speaking, research, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills to come to a group resolution to mitigate the crisis at hand.

“My favorite thing has been organizing our simulated debates about world issues,” founding member and current treasurer Christina Li said. “For example, we had a discussion on the illegal arms trade in Africa and how different countries would want to play a role in decreasing that illicit trade. It was really interesting to see everyone working together from the perspectives of different countries to come to a resolution.”

This year’s officers hope that all this practice will allow them to participate in a Model UN conference with other chapters.

“I would really like to see us participate in our first conference at whatever level possible,” Li said. “There aren’t any Model UN chapters within El Paso so it’s difficult to get involved locally, but there are still conferences going on virtually so it would be really cool to train and fundraise for that.”

Model UN also plans to have a positive impact on the school community now that their service activities may take place in person.

“I would love for us to do something as a group this year because all of our activities had to be individual this year,” Perez said. “One thing we could do for United Nations Day or Earth Day is help beautify the school through environmental cleanup and extend that to the rest of our community in more natural areas of El Paso such as Keystone Heritage Park.”

Ultimately, though, the club’s leaders hope that students who participate can learn and grow from their experiences in Model UN and become strong leaders for tomorrow.

“I hope that by making their voices heard, students will get more of a knack for public speaking,” Perez said. “A lot of people are very shy, and I want them to just get that confidence boost.”

Mr. Torres, the club sponsor, shares a similar sentiment.

“We need high school students to know that their opinions are valuable, that their opinions are heard, and that they can definitely contribute to make this society a better place.”

The club also made an open invitation to anyone who may be interested.

“If you’re thinking about joining Model UN, or joining anything really, just come to a meeting and see what we do,” treasurer Christina Li said. “We do a lot of activities, so if you are interested in service or foreign relations and public policy, join Model UN!”

Model UN will continue to meet every Thursday in portable 6 at lunch, everyone is welcome to join.