Report from MMUN: Debating Solutions to the Most Complicated Problems in the World
Under the guidance of Upper Elementary teacher Mr. Preston, eight students began meeting this fall in preparation for the Montessori Model United Nations conference. The gathering took place over February 13-16, culminating in a session at the UN General Assembly Hall. Metropolitan Montessori School had a strong presence that day: Aside from several students who spoke before the hall, Head of School Brenda Mizel also appeared on the dais. She was honored for her continual support of MMUN’s teacher education program, which takes place at MMS each summer. Following the conference, our school’s MMUN team has written a letter to the community, sharing their experiences. Suffice it to say, they probably know more about the Republic of Angola than most readers.
Dear MMS community,
This year the MMS Upper Elementary participated in Montessori Model United Nations. Our team consisted of eight students and represented the Republic of Angola. At the conference, located in a hotel in Times Square and at the UN General Assembly, we debated solutions to various problems facing the world while interacting with students from around the country and the world. We prepared for four months by researching our topics and Angola’s political position concerning the topics, writing position papers, preparing and practicing opening speeches, as well as creating a country board displaying the cultural aspects of Angola.
Participating in MMUN has given us the opportunity to learn about Angola and the surrounding region but the highlight of the program is certainly the MMUN conference. At the conference we had to collaborate with other delegates to create a resolution for each committee topic. We enjoyed taking charge of the resolution drafting process and did so by listening to others and incorporating their ideas while not forgetting what a delegate from Angola would want and request. At the end of the conference several delegates from each committee are selected to speak at the General Assembly in the UN Building.
The Republic of Angola is located on the western coast in sub-Saharan Africa. The capital is Luanda. It was colonised and occupied by the Portuguese for roughly 400 years until it gained its independence in 1975. Early in its independence it was a communist government and was influenced heavily by the USSR, however its government is categorized as a presidential republic. It was difficult for us to represent Angola because the values which we believe in are substantially different than those represented in the policies of Angola.
In the committee discussing Fair Trade and Defeating Inequality Worldwide, Angola was represented by delegates Camille Botts and Annabelle Hayes. The resolution that passed involved holding a convention and educating farmers on the market value of their produce. In the committee discussing Women in Development, Angola was represented by delegate Jema Dosembet (see a video of her speaking before the Hall here). The resolution involved educating women using public libraries and encouraging women to take cabinet level government positions. In the committee discussing the Distribution of Affordable, Clean, and Sustainable Energy for All, Angola was represented by delegate Alexander Seaman. The resolution involved increasing the use of hydro, solar, geothermal, and wind powers, and reducing the use of fossil fuels. In the committee discussing the Prohibition of the Dumping of Nuclear Waste, Angola was represented by delegate Ashton McKee. The resolution involved a process whereby waste would be stored in pools made of concrete and left there until it had cooled down and deemed no longer harmful to the environment. Then, the substance would be taken to a pre-affected area, where it would be buried deep underground. In the committee discussing nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, Angola was represented by delegate Oliver Seaman. The resolution involved setting up a group to further educate the people of the Middle East on topics regarding nuclear weapons, as well as prohibiting the trade of nuclear weapons to countries in the Middle East on the threat of sanctions if disobeyed. In the committee discussing xenophobia and self determination, Angola was represented by delegates Emily Maffezzoli and Grace Tracy. The resolutions involved creating educational initiatives to highlight the importance of inclusion for application in various cultural settings.
On the final day of the conference each committee presented their resolutions at the UN General Assembly Hall. Although we had to stand outside in the chilly Saturday morning air, it was a captivating experience participating in a committee session as a real UN ambassador would. Participating in MMUN is an exciting experience even though it is a lot of difficult work in the beginning.
-MMUN Team 2019