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Kadena High School hosts Model United Nations

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1999-03-20

Kadena High School stepped into the world of international diplomacy when it hosted a "Model United Nations" on March 11, 12, and 13. Approximately 150 DODDS and international school students from around the Asia and Pacific region attended the three day conference. Participating students conducted both "Security Council" and "Economic and Social Council" sessions on their own, following the same procedures set forth by the United Nations.

The Model United Nations, which has been growing in popularity at high schools and universities around the world, became a reality for students attending school in the Pacific and Asia Rim with the creation of the "Pacific-Model United Nations" in 1992 through the work of Kera Hurst and Lynndal Brickly. Traditionally held in Seoul, Korea, last week's gathering marked the first time the Model United Nations was held in Okinawa.

Kadena High School organizing members began preparing for this year's event in March of 1998. After extensive research on various world issues was completed, topics of discussion were decided upon. The students then contacted schools in the Pacific area, inviting representatives to attend. Each participating delegation was assigned a country to represent, and delegates spent several months studying their country's political and economic policies. Everything from start to finish was planned and completed by the students themselves under the supervision of DODDS teacher Laura Butler.

During the actual sessions, students displayed their knowledge of world politics and their ability to debate and discuss important international issues. At the Economic and Social Council conference, delegates went through United Nation's protocol in discussing three main issues: "Crimes Against and Exploitation of Women and Children in War Situations"; "Economic Measures as a Means of Political Compulsion"; and "Revising and Limiting the UN Calendar of Special Commemorative Events to Increase Effectiveness."

Economic and Social Council President Deirdre L. Kinard controlled the floor, and kept the discussions running smoothly. As delegates addressed their peers in either support of, or against, resolutions being debated, others were writing amendments. Caucuses were also held, student reporters were busy at computer terminals, and security made sure only official personnel were allowed into the conference room. The session was as close as possible to the "real" thing.

"It is very fun," remarked Kinard. "You get to challenge yourself." The four year Model United Nations veteran also said that she enjoyed holding the seat of President for the first time.

Down the hall, members of the Security Council were debating separate issues: "Incorporating Verification and Enforcement Measures into Conventions on Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons"; "The Feasibility of the UN hiring Mercenary Soldiers, Instead of Individual Countries Sending UN Troops Under the UN Flag"; and "The Establishment of a Permanent War Crimes Tribunal."

As the sessions progressed, it was obvious that the delegates grew in confidence and developed a greater understanding about the United Nation's resolution process. For many students, the Model United Nations gave them the opportunity to experience first hand international diplomacy. Security Council President Jessica Smith explained, "It teaches a lot of team-work and negotiating skills. You really need to know your country and related information."

To finalize the conference, Kadena High School Model United Nation's officers will spend the next few weeks drafting a report to be sent to the actual UN.

All students involved at this year's conference, deserve special praise for upholding the real goals of the United Nations, which is to solve global problems through peaceful discussion. It is hoped that these future leaders will continue the trend towards globalization and international understanding.

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