Model UN teaches students valuable skills


courtesy of Miriam Ritter

Model UN members pose after CIMUN event on Dec. 12.

Model UN made its debut at BG two years ago when  junior Miriam Ritter founded the club. Now, the club has around 20 members who meet every other Thursday to discuss social issues and current events.

“My dad is a teacher at Hinsdale South, and at his school they have Model UN,” Ritter said. “I always thought it was interesting, and I wanted to start it at BG.”

Each year, each school is assigned  countries that are unique to that high school. This year, BG was assigned the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France, the Soviet Union and North Korea. The members must then pick one of these countries and research it to learn about the problems they face.

The students discuss their country’s current events at their bi–monthly meetings. At Model UN conferences, a variety of schools come together and collaborate to come up with solutions to problems facing their countries.

“Each country draws up a detailed agenda of what their country wants,” sponsor Jeanne Shin–Cooper said. “The students have to understand the problems, act their part and then persuade other countries to pass the resolutions that the student has proposed.”

During the school year, many schools travel to conferences and compete to win awards. The last conference attended by BG Model UN members was a four–day, three–night event in Chicago called the CIMUN (Chicago International Model United Nations).

“At our last conference in December, we did very well,” Ritter said. “Sophomore Max Sharipov won [the] Best Outstanding Delegate Award, which is one of the highest awards you can receive.”

According to Shin–Cooper, participating in the club helps students improve their public speaking and makes them more knowledgeable about the world.

“From last year to this year, I’ve seen such an improvement in the kids,” Shin–Cooper said. “They have a much higher comfort level than they did before.”

In addition, it helps improve students’ abilities to work well with others and formulate opinions and negotiate effictively.

“Because I joined the club as a freshman, when it was just created, I learned a lot about geopolitical processes and international interaction,” Sharipov said.” The club is very interesting, and we learn so much about the world, while also having fun debating. Not only that, but the participation in a Model UN club looks amazing on a college application.”

BG will be hosting a competition at the end of February and the next four–day conference will be held mid–April at Northwestern University. Any new members can join the club in either September or February.

“The club is great for kids who are interested in current events or even social studies,” Shin–Cooper said. “Model UN is one of the only social science–specific clubs that competes, which makes this club unique.”