Lucaya International School’s (LIS) Model United Nations Club achieved the award for Best Small Country Delegation at the Global Citizens Model United Nations Conference (GCMUN) in Manhattan along with six individual awards for outstanding performance.
Fifteen students from Grades 10 through 13 represented the school and The Bahamas at the GCMUN three-day conference held on February 24 - 26 at the Sheraton Hotel and UN Headquarters in Manhattan, New York.
Cheryl Jennings-Blanchet, French and Theory of Knowledge Teacher and one of the coaches of MUN Debate team at LIS explained that this three-day conference takes place in February each year, and this year was the sixth time the school has taken part.
Blanchet told this daily that MUN provides students with unique and exciting educational activities such as engaging in debates, collaborating with other students, global networking, drafting resolutions, voting and learning to diplomatically resolve major issues that affect the entire world.
“This was our sixth trip abroad to compete in MUN and our experiences have made us a better club. It is most important for all Bahamian students to get exposure – you could be a good student here but need to see how you compare with others, from say Pennsylvania or Canada, and MUN gives just that opportunity,” Blanchet said.
The LIS coach explained that each MUN debate team is given a country and has to work with different issues that are of global concern in committees and offer a proposition, written and presented in perfect English. The six committees this year were: Disarmament and International Security; Economic and Financial; Social, Humanitarian and Cultural; Special Political and Decolonization; and Legal.
“The kids are my inspiration to see them excited about writing a proper resolution; to see them excited when people vote for their ideas is wonderful. They have to learn the rules of debate, and how to write a clear proposal, how to research their topic from the country prescribed view and present with perfect diction,” Blanchet shared.
The LIS students and coaches, Blanchet furthered, had the opportunity to spend a full day at the United Nations Headquarters.
LIS MUN coach and History Teacher Garrett O’Sullivan explained that the GCMUN conference gives high school students from around the world the opportunity to live and breathe the real life of an ambassador.
“During the simulation our team of 15 delegates performed wonderfully and we emerged one of the most successful delegations at the entire conference,” O’Sullivan said.
The LIS team, were rewarded for their hard work and dedication by being presented with the prestigious Best Small Delegation Award, given to the most successful small country presenting at the conference. “This was a massive achievement for all 15 of our delegates and a testament to their hard work and dedication both before and during the conference,” O’Sullivan shared.
In addition to the Best Small Delegation Award, six of the LIS delegation was given honourable mentions for their contributions. “To put this achievement in perspective, over 1,100 delegates from nations all over the world took part in the conference and only 40 individual awards were given out, LIS students were six of them,” O’Sullivan acknowledged.
The six students attaining individual awards for their performance were: Kariel Stuart, Maddie Kennedy, Lauren Ritchie, Julia Mellor, Philip Stoevesand and Nichana Miller.
Maddie Kennedy shared that although it was her first year in the MUN Debate Club and her first conference, she was thrilled to not only take part but to have been honoured with one of the individual awards. “We all worked so hard so to be recognized is great,” Kennedy said.
Julia Mellor shared with this daily that she was part of the largest committee at the convention and that made her rather anxious. “Initially, I was anxious but I was well prepared. There were over 250 delegates in the group and I got an award so I am so proud of myself.
“I was shocked when I heard my name. I studied late into the night before and made sure I used complex vocabulary. Basically, preparation had a lot to do with my success and ours as a team. I say a big thanks to Mrs. Blanchet and Mr. O’Sullivan because without them our success would not have happened,” Mellor said.
Kariel Stuart, the Secretary General of the LIS MUN Debate team also won one of the individual awards and like Mellor, credited preparation for her success. “We experienced what happens in the real world. We simulated the UN representatives from around the world. The conference teaches you how to work with large groups of people you do not know to find a solution to a global problem,” Stuart noted.
Stuart went on to say that MUN teaches students that every country, no matter how small has a voice, and that the power of communication is very important. “As we all live in the same world we should all have a voice,” Stuart said.
The LIS MUN Debate team leader concluded by stating that, “There were so many different cultures and countries represented in Manhattan. We all made lots of new friends, and can now share what is happening in our country with those from different countries.”
Published Wednesday, March 1, 2017