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The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

Staff Profile
Myana Brown
Myana Brown
Staff Writer

Solving World Hunger, Celebrity Sightings, DOG!, and more: The Inside Scoop on Model UN

The+New+York+City+skyline+shimmers+on+the+horizon+as+the+Model+UN+team+heads+back+to+Carlisle.+
Laura Sands
The New York City skyline shimmers on the horizon as the Model UN team heads back to Carlisle.

The National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference has been debating international topics for 50 years, but I’ve only been going to this life-changing, four-day-long event for three of those years, and this year was by far the best. From solving education in conflict zones to meeting Paul Rudd (who most notably plays the title character of Antman, and Mr. Grooberson), I’ll detail our four-day adventure in the Big Apple from the eyes of CHS’s MUN team.   

 

On Tuesday, March 12, over thirty students rushed home from school to grab their suitcases and carry-ons, only to rush back to the school and take a bus to New York City: I was one of those students. We had spent months and months studying the policies of our assigned country, Saudi Arabia, and we had each been assigned a committee in which we had to represent Saudi Arabia. With my co-delegate, Elisabeth Forrester, we represented Saudi Arabia in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Since November we had been going to Panera, covering table upon table with notes, pens, and highlighters by what seemed to be the millions, and pouring over articles and bills that could tell us anything about Saudi Arabia’s standpoint of education in conflict zones. Soon enough we had a ten-page position paper that we wrote, detailing what we believed Saudi Arabia would do to improve education in conflict zones and safeguard biodiversity and underwater cultural heritage. After months of preparation, it was finally time to put all the months of work into practice, as we drove to New York City, with Indiana Jones playing on the built-in tv screens.  

 

The point of Model UN is to come together with people across the globe to draft a resolution paper, complete with amendments and signatories that could solve real-world problems. Each delegate represents the opinions of their assigned committee and not their personal beliefs. This can cause conflict and debate but ultimately creates an environment that reflects the real UN and can foster real solutions to real-world problems. During the committee meetings, there are two types of debate that ensue: moderated caucus, where delegates are selected to speak in front of the room on their country’s beliefs, and then there is the chaos known as an unmoderated caucus. “Unmod,” as the delegates call it, is essentially a free-for-all, where people form allies, argue loudly, and fight in a Google Doc, to write a resolution paper that details how and with what funding the countries will solve the issue. This year, during unmod in my committee Elisabeth and I, participating as Saudi Arabia, fought for a baseline budget that countries must dedicate to their education, based on how much income they have. We wrote the very controversial clause into the resolution paper, and after sessions upon sessions of giving speeches, debating, and speaking about why our clause was valid, it finally got amended and added to the paper. It was an exhausting fight, but in the end, knowing we accomplished what we set out to do was very fulfilling. 

 

Model UN does not sound worth it when I only mention the arguing and the exhaustion, but that’s not the only thing the committee provides. In committee sessions, I’ve also made friends from across the world. Especially this year, my committee, UNESCO, was especially close-knit. You make friends with your country allies, you make friends with the random kids who’ll save your seat, and you make friends with your Chair, who will explain an unfamiliar term to you. You make friends with the girl who has a Taylor Swift laptop sticker, and you make friends with the kid who takes on the impossible job of starting the Google Doc and adding everyone’s emails. I’ve met people from France, Italy, Canada, Japan, California, and the distant New Jersey. As you debate and learn more about your country’s standpoints, you also learn more about each other and can make life-long friends. Although you may not know their name and just refer to them as the country, these people will ultimately become your classmates, peers, and fellow world leaders for a week.

 

As great as the students of UNESCO were, nothing is better than returning from committees that ended at 11:30 PM, taking off my high heels that I’ve been running up and down the crowded stairway in, and loudly recounting the events of the committee session. That and the roommates that are almost family that you return to. These people are essentially my family for a week: we eat together, we come home from late-night committee meetings to them, and we match outfits together. Although my room ultimately won Mr. Wagner’s award for “Messiest Room,” I believe it’s because we had the most family-like structure. 

 

Before, between, and after the tiring committee sessions there is plenty of time to enjoy the sparkling city. This year we had almost two full days to wander and explore the city. One day we went to the Museum of Art and Design to see the Taylor Swift experience, explored an underground market, witnessed a protest, went to a three-story Barnes & Noble, and Ralph’s Coffee truck, and much more, all while playing the Dog Game (where every time you see a dog, you say dog, and whoever has the most dogs wins). Another day we went to the New York Public Library, explored a giant mall-like building at Rockefeller Center, where Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show is filmed, devoured amazing tacos, and went to another bookstore (yes, we were still playing the Dog Game). Although experiencing all of New York City was exciting, and participating in our committee meetings was rewarding, the climax of our trip for me was Thursday morning: Parker Heberlig’s birthday. 

 

Parker had been part of my Model UN group for most of the trip, and Thursday was his birthday and he wanted nothing more than to be on Good Morning America. So despite being exhausted from our late-night committee sessions the night before, we woke up way earlier than we wanted to and trekked down to Good Morning America’s station in our sweatshirts and a giant sign Parker made, reading, “Today I become an adult! It’s my 18th B-Day!” Once we arrived a security guard informed us that the news anchors would not be coming outside again that morning, however the morning would not be wasted. 

 

“After being denied being on GMA, my spirits were drained and put down, until a bald GMA guy told us about something that could raise our ‘spirits’: literally.” Parker recounts. 

 

The “bald GMA guy” told us that the cast of Ghostbusters would be exiting the CBS studio about a block away, soon. We quickly booked it down to CBS and got in line for signatures behind the barricade. Parker held up his giant sign and we met Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Muray, McKenna Grace, and Paul Rudd, all members of the cast of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Some of them signed Parker’s sign, some of them gave us handshakes, and some of them ignored the crowd, but regardless, we left feeling stunned and jittery. 

 

When asked how his 18th birthday was, Parker quipped that “Even though the Ghostbusters are meant to exterminate spirits, meeting the cast certainly raised all of our spirits ‘spirits’ and was an amazing birthday present.”

“Participating in Model UN is amazing year after year. Coming together with kids from around the world in pursuit of a common goal is a powerful experience.” 

— Elisabeth Forrester

All around Model UN is one of the best programs CHS has to offer and it thrills me year after year. You never know what the city will bring, you never know what you’ll explore, who you will make friends with, or how your life will be changed. Everything about this trip is amazing. I loved debating in committee sessions, and I loved hanging out in the city with my friends and eating wonderful food. 

 

I don’t think Elisabeth Forrester could have said it any better when she said, “Participating in Model UN is amazing year after year. Coming together with kids from around the world in pursuit of a common goal is a powerful experience.” 

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Laura Sands
Laura Sands, Staff Writer
Laura Sands is a junior and she’s excited for her first year in Periscope. Outside of school Laura enjoys reading, writing, music, and playing with her dogs and cats. You may also see her on the Coffeehouse stage.  
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