By Christina Cannon (CCHS Sophomore, Marketing Club Leader)
From April 13-15, 2017, three Cascade Christian students attended the Model United Nations (MUN) conference at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Garrett Bates, Sophie Peña, and I represented both Cascade Christian and the country of Fiji in different committees in a series of debates. We participated in discussion sessions throughout the day, formulating resolutions and working on amendments addressing problems such as hunger in unstable areas, the refugee crisis, and terrorism. We helped develop solutions pertaining to our different committees. The resolutions will be sent to the real United Nations in New York. MUN, Oregon’s oldest youth organization (started in 1948), simulates the real UN by allowing students to explore contemporary world issues while gaining confidence in public speaking, leadership, teamwork, and negotiation.
“My favorite part was being with a lot of really articulate people with the same interest in wanting to help the world and make a difference. This is a good experience for opening my eyes and getting me to see that the world is bigger than high school,” commented Sophie after the conference.
I also really enjoyed the opportunity to debate my (and Fiji’s) point of view, gain confidence in my own public speaking, and listen to the arguments of why certain countries think something should or should not be done. Thirty-four schools and over 1,000 students from across Oregon attended the conference, including two other schools from the Rogue Valley: St. Mary’s and Ashland High Schools. Students participated as country delegates, committee chairs, and offices in the conference secretariat. The days were busy, encompassing several sessions throughout the day, from roughly 8:00am to 8:00pm, but it wasn’t all work. Students enjoyed meeting other delegates. They were entertained after the last sessions of the day with a talent show on Thursday night and a party on Friday night. On Saturday, after the general sessions had come to a close, each committee came up with another resolution in a crisis simulation. We were “informed” that North Korea had attacked several South Korean towns, and were about to invade the capital of Seoul. We again had to try to solve or help lessen the problem while staying within the boundaries of our own committee and the UN, and learned a lot about what the UN does and does not have power to do.
Many other students seemed to enjoy the whole process as much as I did and I look forward to returning next year. I was at first hesitant to speak my opinion, but it became easier and I gained confidence and I realized that I was not the only student still trying to figure out how Model UN works and that the other delegates were very open to hearing what I had to say. Although there was no pressure to speak, I found that the more I got involved, the more fun it became and the more I learned about other students’ countries and opinions. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and would highly recommend it to any high-schooler interested in how the world works, problem solving, public speaking, or just a great field trip off campus to meet other students from all different schools, opinions, and backgrounds.
(Cascade Christian started a Model United Nations club mid-way through the current school year. We are trying to grow our current Cascade Christian team of three delegates. Any Cascade Christian High School student, grades 9-12, is eligible to join. Contact Sophie, Christina, Garrett or the school office for more information. Mr. Jason Wegner is the student advisor.)