Judged not by concrete measures of competence but by the rhetorical character of their diplomatic role play, Statesboro High Model United Nations delegates delivered successfully once again in their endeavor to resolve issues of international concern.
The 44th High School Model UN competition held at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center at Georgia Southern University on February 5-7, 2015, required and brought out the best in the delegates who attended. At this conference students spent 2½ days working tirelessly proposing, debating, and voting on resolutions that instituted measures to lessen the severity of global conflicts under the purview of the United Nations. The team’s efforts resulted in a distinction of Distinguished awarded to the school team, one tier below the highly acclaimed Outstanding recognition.
Model United Nations is a competitive microsimulation of the legislative process used by the United Nations in its deliberation of topics that warrant international attention. The simulation is divided into committees and bodies that address domains of global attention or represent geopolitical blocs of the world. At conference, students represent assigned countries and provide the perspectives of these nations by speaking, debating, and writing resolutions on issues germane to the topics outlined by the competition in each committee.
Nick Harvey, a junior who has participated in Model UN for three years, spoke on the merits of practicing such skills. “The most important and most rewarding part about the Model UN experience is the ability to find the self-confidence to speak in front of large groups of people and express viewpoints.”
In a competition of its magnitude and complexity, it becomes evident that students cannot be judged by quantitative criteria, since these would be too restrictive to embody the depth of performance that distinguishes a mediocre delegate from an outstanding delegate. This concept of adjudication is indicative of the vastly interconnected components that harmonize to distinguish a delegate worthy of the title. Delegates are judged by their participation in conference, their ability to speak eloquently and persuasively about their positions, their ability to lead and lobby support for their resolutions by forming coalitions, and the accuracy and consistency with which they represent the ideologies and political character of their assigned country.
Back in the classroom at Statesboro High School where practices are conducted, Mrs. Mary Adamson, the club’s advisor, directs and prepares the team. Students prepare months in advance by researching the historical and political underpinnings of the topics in their respective committees, as well as gaining a comprehensive understanding of the political inclinations of their assigned countries and the historical precursors to these views. At practice, students have gained experience debating and writing resolutions as well as a necessary acquaintance with the rules of procedure.
Mrs. Adamson expressed her outlook on the prospect of the team’s continued success in future competitions. “I am really excited about next year. Hopefully, all but our two seniors will stick with it, and I think that we can definitely do a good job based off of what I saw this year.”