Students take part in local Model U.N.

Published 11:21 pm Thursday, March 5, 2009

Anna Green

Students from Charles Henderson Middle School participated in the Southeast Alabama Model United Nations on Thursday at Troy University.

The top 20 students with the highest grade point averages in social studies in seventh and eighth grades represented CHMS at the model UN.

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Paul Gilbert and Marcus Woodham, teachers at CHMS, said that although they picked the countries for their students, the students were required to do all the research about the country.

“They are told to find out about the government, and whatever problems are actually affecting that particular country. Then, from their research, they choose a problem and design a solution to present to the model UN,” Gilbert said.

Woodham said that he and his students have been planning their topics since January.

“We started researching and studying about these countries in January. This is a good experience,” Woodham said. “It helps us teach our kids about the inner dynamics of world affairs and international nations and the conflicts related to them.”

The countries represented by CHMS were: Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Haiti, South Korea, Spain, Trinidad and Tabago and the United Arab Emirates.

McNeil Dobson, an eighth grader, was a representative of Trinidad and Tabago. Even though his country’s resolution was shot down, Dobson said that he learned that being a UN leader is harder than one might think.

“Our group wanted to create employment opportunities for Trinidad and Tabago. The crime rate is very high there, and we felt that if we created jobs for the unemployed, the crime rate would drop,” Dobson said. “Even though we failed, I’ve learned that the UN leaders have a very tough job. It’s hard to get resolutions passed.”

Kayla Causley and Jessica Wilkes, both eighth graders, had an easier time getting their resolution passed for the United Arab Emirates.

“We chose to focus on the issue of child trafficking for our country,” Wilkes said. “The United Arab Emirates has over 15 million kids trafficked each year for slavery and sexual exploitation. This issue affects the entire world.”

Causley said the problem appealed to them because they realized how lucky they were in America.

“We don’t realize how lucky we are here. Those countries would love to not have to be afraid to send their children out to play and then never have them come home,” Causley said. “Most of these kids are 13 or younger, and they can’t defend themselves.”

The group representing the UAE asked the model UN for 12 million dollars in order to create opposition towards child trafficking. Their resolution passed with a 25-12 vote.

Causley said that she really enjoyed being a part of the model UN.

“It really is a great opportunity for public speaking. You have to present your resolution in front of a large group of your peers, so you have to put away your shyness pretty quickly.”

Wilkes said that this is a lesson that she thinks will stay with her the rest of her life.

“This just really makes you have compassion for other countries. You don’t know how lucky you are until you start studying about how bad it is everywhere else,” Wilkes said. “I’d like to be a lawyer one day and have a positive impact on other nations.”