Bard College Hosts High School Model UN Tournament
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Model United Nations Initiative proudly hosted the Bard Model United Nations Conference (BardMUNC) on Saturday, November 15 in Bard College’s Olin Hall. BardMUNC is the brainchild of various Bard affiliated organizations as well as the Red Hook High School Model UN Team. The high school and college students collaborated to run a daylong conference hosting competitive Model UN teams from as far away as eastern Connecticut and New York City. Over 150 students registered for the conference from Red Hook High School, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Arlington High School, Highland High School, Woodstock Academy, Bard High School Early College Manhattan, Bard High School Early College Queens, and Newark Academy.
Cadet Patrick Beauregard, the captain of the West Point Model UN Team, gave the keynote address, in which he urged the students to continue their involvement in Model UN through high school and college.
The conference broke up into committees which included simulations of the United Nations Human Rights Council addressing the situation in the Middle East; The Egyptian Constitutional Committee of 2013; and the British Peace Summit of July 1914. BardMUNC’s simulations provided substantive experiences for students to explore international affairs as individual delegates debating ideas and negotiating legislation. Students from Bard, Red Hook, Bard Simon’s Rock, and Bard High School Early College Manhattan chaired the committees.
“I actually participated in a nationwide Model UN conference when I was in high school,” said Bard President Leon Botstein in his closing remarks to the attendees. “I think it’s an important activity and I want to thank all of our colleagues from Red Hook and the Bard Model UN Team and staff for making this conference possible. I hope to see it come back again next year.”
The event was the culmination of a year of planning by Bard student Jason Toney ’16, director general, and Red Hook senior John Templeton Kay, secretary general. Toney has been mentoring the Red Hook High School Model UN club through the Bard Trustee Leader Scholar Program since fall 2013.
“Watching kids from Red Hook grow, in so many distinct ways, watching them work and learn so much in such a condensed period of time, should encourage teachers, parents, and administrators to invest in these kinds of activities,” says Toney. “This style of engagement is the future of learning; this is how we take kids who would otherwise be left in the back of the class and bring them to the front of a room where their voice can be heard. I’ve seen it happen over and over, from my time in high school to my time as a mentor.”
The success of the conference is based on the effort and support of the Bard Model UN Initiative, Red Hook High School Model UN Team, International Model United Nations Association, Bard Trustee Leader Scholar Program, Bard College at Simon’s Rock Model UN, Bard Model UN Team, Bard Center for Civic Engagement, and Red Hook Rotary Club.
The Bard Model UN Initiative (BMUNI) has the role of uniting all organizations involved to facilitate the conference. BMUNI connects Bard College students with high school students and faculty to assist in the establishment, development, organization, and education of Model United Nations (MUN) teams in the Hudson Valley. High school students meet on a regular basis to learn how to write foreign policy position papers, research and discuss international current affairs, and become confident public speakers. MUN teams attend conferences and engage in an expansive discourse with hundreds of other schools, drafting resolutions to solve the world’s most pressing international crises. BMUNI works closely with students at Red Hook High School and strives to provide support for a multitude of MUN teams in the region. BMUNI aspires to increase knowledge regarding the international community and to aid in the development of academic and social skills of participating youth.
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