Christian Deeper Learning: Model UN

Zahide Çam, Grade 12 Student
 Last year, when I had just arrived at NCC and tried to adjust to this new country as an international student, I got a message from Ms. Bailey. She invited me to join a new Model United Nations & Debate Team starting at NCC for the first time. A year later, it is my honour to be able to share more about NCC’s MUN & Debate Team as the Secretary-General of the team for this school year. 
Model United Nations is a series of conferences that aim to introduce students to the United Nations and how it works. Our team meets during the Clubs period on Fridays and after school Thursdays once every two weeks–and you are all welcome to come to visit anytime! At the beginning of our meetings, we all get assigned a country and a topic that a real-world UN committee might discuss. Some of our previous agendas include human rights abuses in the fast-fashion industry, Rohingya refugees’ hope to return to Myanmar, and women’s freedom in Afghanistan. We are expected to represent our given country during MUN debates rather than our personal perspective, which requires preparation while teaching about the issues we would need to be aware of. 

 To prepare, sometimes we watch the news together, hold sessions on specific topics, and try to give back to our more extensive school community. On December 1, 2022, we had an event called Crash Course, open to all staff, teachers and students 
 at the school. All students gave quick presentations about their home countries or continents. During the day, we welcomed visitors from outside our club, including teachers and even the principal, Mr. Baird. We also have times when we invite other schools to our meetings. 
 On January 12, 2023, the Greater Fort Erie Secondary School MUN Team participated in our mini-conference. We got to meet outstanding individuals who are excited to make a change in the world and to be the change in the world. Outside the school, we get invited by other schools to formal MUN events, or we apply to MUN conferences and get a chance to represent our school and ourselves. We even get awards, and we are sure we’ll continue getting awards and recognitions as long as our team aims for world peace. 

 Our secretariat team, Zite, Gwen, and Owen, with Ms. Bailey’s help, find events for our team to participate in different high schools, and we are thankful for them. NCC contributes to the team greatly on that, and with all the assistance we have from our school, we need to dress up formally, do our research, write position papers and show up! We appreciate this support from our school that allowed us to focus only on our passions during MUN rather than worrying about the financial burden of events and details like transportation; our school deserves appreciation for that support. 
 We all put our heart into what we do, because a high school student rarely gets to experience, or even imagine, what is happening in the United Nations. As individuals, we grow up with our knowledge of the world, and this is a necessary skill to have in an international school and a globalized world. We escape our ethnocentrism as much as possible and understand what diversity means. MUN also supports academic research and debate skills, which differs from most other extracurriculars. This unique side of MUN helps students to thrive. 

 As a school, we benefit from offering MUN because it creates more space for students to take leadership roles and meet students outside their peer groups thanks to our diverse age range, from middle schoolers to senior students. Regardless of age, MUN supports the determination of ESL students to improve their language skills. Everyone who is a second language speaker might know that we have moments when we don’t have enough courage to have a voice just because of our insecurities. MUN motivates second-language students to speak because the environment, format and team are always encouraging. It also helps our community flourish by making everyone closer to one another and creating a safe circle for students where they can discuss world issues like hunger, poverty, displaced people and human rights policies. 

 In our team, all members have different aspirations and personalities. Despite this, MUN somehow teaches us how to find a way to embrace those differences. These skills will stay with the students after high school, and we’ll carry them onto our higher education. Hopefully, some of us will apply the lessons to our jobs, whether we become engineers, politicians, stay-at-home parents, teachers, doctors, web designers, managers or artists. 
To finish, I want to thank everyone who has strengthened our team: our alum members, current team members, the secretariat, Niagara Christian Collegiate, but most importantly, a teacher who came up with this idea to teach her students what is happening in the real world: Ms. Bailey. 

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Niagara Christian Collegiate (NCC) is an independent, non-denominational Christian school located on the beautiful Niagara River near Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
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