Home :: News & Events :: News :: Local to Global Engagement through Model UN: 15th Annual Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference
14 May 2019
Local to Global Engagement through Model UN: 15th Annual Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference

On Friday April 26, 2019, around 400 students, 70 educators, 50 volunteers, and 40 guests gathered at the U.S. Department of State and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for the 15th Annual Spring19Conf-1UNA-NCA Global Classrooms DC (GCDC) Annual Spring Model United Nations Conference, the culiminating event for GCDC. 

The conference welcomed 5th to 12th grade students from 27 schools and groups from not only the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area but also as far as Lebanon. Throughout the intense one-day conference, student delegates debated possible solutions to important international issues from the perspectives of their countries. They acted as diplomats advocating for their country's position on five topics across five different committees:

  • Ending Modern Slavery (International Organization for Migration)
  • Creating Youth Employment Opportunities (International Labour Conference, which is part of the International Labour Organization)
  • Promoting Women in Peace and Security (UN Development Program)
  • Developing Better Responses to Natural Disasters (UN Environmental Programme)
  • Crisis of Democratic Republic of Congo (UN Security Council)

The conference was opened by Paula Boland, the Executive Director of UNA-NCA, and Stephen F. Moseley, the President of UNA-NCA. Both expressed appreciation to the International Organization Affair Bureau at the State Department for the long standing partnership collaboration and inclredible support. Public Affairs Director, Mark Schlachter, remarked that this program continues to be the single largest student event the Department holds each year.

The Keynote Speaker for 15th Annual GCDC Spring Model UN Conference was Vivian Lowery Derryck (right), the founder and the president Emerita of the Bridges Institute. Spring19Conf-2Ms. Derryck has focused on promoting sustainable development in education, political participation, conflict resolution, leadership development, and women's leadership in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. She shared her incredible journey from her time in Africa and her passion for empowering women and girls through education. She encouraged the students at the conference to align their skills with their passion, and continue to engage in global issues and the work of the United Nations.

Lastly, Fatemeh Naghavinia, the 2019 Global Classrooms DC Secretary-General, emphasized on importance of raising youths' voice to change the world and officially opened the conference.

As soon as the ceremonies concluded, students head to their different committee rooms and began their morning sessions. Meanwhile, educators and guests gathered in the Delegates Lounge for the GCDC Open House. UNA-NCA Executive Director Paula Boland greeted the guests and and shared this year's program highlights and thanked this year's conference sponsors and partners. Special thanks Spring19Conf-7to UN Federal Credit Union, O'Melveny & Meyers Law Firm, AIRSCHOTT, the National Education Association, the Griffis Family, and all those who donated through the GCDC Support a Delegate program for their generous support!

In addition, GCDC partnered with a number of international organizations as sponsors of conference topics. For the 2018-2019 school year, GCDC partnered with the International Organization for Migration to sponsor a full curriculum unit and conference topic to the issue of migration and modern slavery. GCDC also partnered with the International Labour Organization to sponsor a unit, and the conference delegates talked about youth employment issues. Last but not least, GCDC worked with the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) to cover the topic of promoting women in peace and security. 

After the Open House, educators and guests had the opportunity to visit different committee rooms and witness the students in action.

In the afternoon, the student delegates primarily continued working with others to draft resolutions which outlined their ideas and solutions to solve their committees' respective challenges. Many Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, who are college students and professionals with extensive Model UN experience, shared their positive feedback on students; the Chairs and Vice-Chairs were extremely impressed by the students' preparation and the quality of their performance.

Spring19Conf-8At the same time period in the afternoon, the educators had the opportunity to attend the Professional Development Workshop. Educators interacted with other teachers from different schools through innovative global education activities and shared their teaching experience regarding international and global education.

During the closing ceremonies UNA-NCA Global Education Managing Director Nicole Bohannon and Student Secretary-General Fatemeh Naghavinia announced the committee and position paper awards to recognize outstanding work done by participating students.

In its 15th year, the GCDC Model UN Conference continued to provide opportunities for primary and secondary school students to fully immerse in global education. Spring19Conf-6They are able to discuss some of the world's most pressing international issues with other student from diverse backgrounds, while learning from inspiring leaders and professionals in the field of foreign affairs. From this experience, students are able to effectively cultivate various skills, such as public speaking, negotiation, and writing.

Thank you again to all our speakers and a very special thank you to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and the Pan American Health Organization for the continued support throughout the years.

UNA-NCA also thanks the UN Federal Credit Union, O'Melveny & Meyers Law Firm, AIRSCHOTT, the National Education Association, the Griffis Family, and our Supoort a Delegate supporters. Thank you to Sabina Grenaderova for photographing the event. Finally, a warm thank you to UNA-NCA and GCDC Staff, Program Assistants, and volunteers – the GCDC Spring 2019 Model UN Conference would not have been possible without your support!