by Josh Duelm
The Eighth-grade class traveled to New York City on February 14 to participate in the annual Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) conference. Students researched and role-played as ambassadors from countries attempting to solve global issues.
Maria Montessori supported the work of the United Nations as a forum where peace could be created. She recognized the hope for peace lay in the education of children. Montessori Model United Nations has partnered with the United Nations to create a program for Montessori students who, at the sensitive period for reason, justice and morality, can participate in a life-changing experience.
Through the process of role-playing, each student becomes a delegate of a selected nation. MSSA represented the countries of Turkey, Ukraine, Spain, Luxembourg, Haiti, and Fiji. Students write, present and debate issues affecting their nation and peoples of the world. By assuming the character of a citizen of their selected country, they fully develop an understanding of the needs of a people and the importance of accepting differences.
Students from MSSA did committee work for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Human Rights Council (HRC), and the Economic and Financial Committee (EcoFin). They helped reach consensus on writing resolutions for the following topics: supporting rural women, creating food security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, protecting biological diversity, helping landlocked countries develop, protecting rights of children, and helping all find adequate housing opportunities.
Four students -Sophia Wiley, James Mullett, Payton Juarez, and Caroline Lund- were recognized as Distinguished Delegates for their exemplary work in their speeches, resolution writing, and diplomatic skills. Speaking from the famed green marble backed podium that all world leaders speak from, these Distinguished Delegates were honored with the opportunity to summarize their committee’s work during closing ceremonies at the actual United Nations General Assembly.
In addition to their UN work, students got to tour New York and explore its rich history. Tour stops included marveling at Times Square, eating lunch at Grand Central Terminal, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the 9/11 Memorial, exploring the High Line, viewing the Statue of Liberty for Battery Park, admiring the architecture of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, and strolling through Central Park.
As a capstone middle school experience, the MMUN program helps fulfill Montessori’s vision that “education… must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.” MMUN allows students to explore their potential to be the future architects of a more peaceful and just world.