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Quantico Middle/High School students attend a Model United Nations conference at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Nov. 14-16. Students in business attire.

Photo by Eve A. Baker

Quantico Middle/High School students participate in Model United Nations program

8 Dec 2014 | Eve A. Baker Marine Corps Base Quantico

Earlier this year, Quantico Middle/High School became only the second school in the Department of Defense educational system to institute a Model United Nations program, and 18 students and faculty attended their first conference Nov. 14-16 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.


QMHS established the program as an elective class, though it will transition to an after-school club in the coming spring semester. Currently the students meet every other day during regular school hours, and the class is led by QMHS teacher Theresa Martin.


Martin was previously a Model UN sponsor at a DOD school in Italy and said she saw it was a very valuable experience for her students and proposed starting a program at QMHS to the school administration last year.


Regarding what she wants the students to take away from the program, Martin said, “Hopefully it will inspire them to think beyond themselves in terms of their point of view as Americans and expand their horizons.”


QMHS senior Stephen, 17, described the first conference as “a simulation of the actual UN.” He said the students were assigned a country to represent and specific topics to address, and they took part in debates with other students. According to Stephen, there were students from 60 different schools, primarily local schools, though some students did come from as far as Maryland, West Virginia, New York, and Florida. QMHS students spent Friday and Saturday evening in a nearby hotel so they could participate in all three days of the conference.


The students from QMHS were given the country of Laos to represent. Sophomore Kathryn, 15, said the topics she was assigned to research and debate included self-determination, humanitarian aid and cultural heritage sites.


Stephen said he served on the committee on international multilateral partnership against cyber threats, and his discussion topics included legal policy, international cooperation and security assurance.


For Kathryn the conference and classes have definitely been a learning experience. “At first, I had no idea how to create working papers,” she said. However, she said that other students at the conference showed her how to formalize her notes into professional documents. She also learned about parliamentary procedures and how to speak formally in front of a large group.


Stephen echoed Kathryn’s statements about their participation being a learning experience. “I learned diplomacy, certainly, despite representing a communist country,” he said. He also felt that his empathy for other countries developed during the conference, particularly for other underdeveloped, less influential and small countries such as Laos. He said he felt like saying “Hey, I’m over here, I need stuff, too.”


Both Kathryn and Stephen said the value of the experience was worth the extra work they had to do, and they would encourage other students to participate in the program.


— Writer:

Marine Corps Base Quantico