An out-of-the-classroom experience recently gave 25 Upper School students opportunities to engage in civil discourse, hone their critical-thinking and communication skills … and have fun. The students traveled to Colonial Williamsburg November 4-6 to attend the 36th-annual William & Mary High School Model United Nations conference (WMHSMUN). Model UN is an educational simulation in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. At a Model UN conference, students take on the roles of delegates and collaborate to create innovative solutions to complex world problems.
Several hundred students, from all over the U.S., attended the event. Upper School Social Studies Teachers Sarah Dwelle and Eliza McGehee, faculty co-leaders of Steward’s Model UN chapter, accompanied Steward students at the conference.
Using Parliamentary Procedure (also known as Parli Pro), Steward students teamed up with students from other schools, working together on a variety of committees. One group, which discussed matters related to the World Health Organization, was led by Steward alumnus and current William & Mary student David Cantor ’22. Another, the Star Wars Committee, discussed intergalactic warfare. During the fast-paced weekend, students learned how to communicate thoughtfully with each other in manners similar to those of real-world diplomats.
This was the fifth Model UN conference for Blakely Cummings ’23.
“We left the conference with new knowledge about what it means to have civil and progressive debates,” she said. “We learned how to ‘motion’ for an action, amend a directive, and express our ideas confidently and productively. And we learned a few new dance moves at the WMHSMUN Delegate Dance!” This year’s WMHSMUN was the last college conference for many Steward seniors. “It was a bittersweet sendoff for a hard-working group of students,” noted Blakely.
Ms. Dwelle especially enjoyed the enthusiasm of Steward’s strong group of freshmen Model UN members and recognizing how senior members have grown as leaders throughout the years.
Sabina Mohanty ’23, president of Steward’s Model UN Club, reflected on her time as a Model UN participant. “I loved going to the college conferences and meeting people from all over the country,” she said, “but I’ve also loved seeing friends at local conferences too. Model UN is also a really great way to improve your public speaking skills.”
Steward will host its fifth-annual STEWMUN (Steward Model UN) conference on January 27-28, 2023 for Middle and Upper School students. Steward students interested in participating can get more information from their history teachers.