Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Upcoming Contra Costa County High School Model UN Announces Record Participation

Contra Costa County Model United Nations Gavel Winners from 2010

An impressive increase in student participants planning to take part in the 21st annual conference of the Contra Costa County High School Model United Nations, is announced by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).  The Model UN, to be held on November 4-5, has a current count of 315 registered students – a jump of 38% over last year.

During these times of slashing school budgets and the continued downsizing of educational opportunities for our students, this increase of student participation is certainly remarkable.  Despite such obstacles, the students, as well as their parents and schools, find ways to take part in such important academic opportunities.

Model UN, is one of five academic events produced by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE).  “This is a wonderful opportunity for these students to utilize what they have learned in their classrooms, Model UN school clubs, and on their own, as they participate in a professionally organized event,” reports CCCOE Chief Communications Officer Peggy Marshburn.  “Our Model UN program continues to grow in participating schools and students.  We often hear from the schools how our academic events [such as Model UN] are a tremendous hands-on learning option to offer their students, plus the experience makes a great addition to the students’ college applications.”  

The CCCOE’s other upcoming academic events include Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, and National History Day, which are also looking at an increase in participating schools and students, evident by many early registrants.   In addition, the CCCOE’S second-year Mock Trial Invitational, to be held in early December, has already reached maximum capacity.

Model United Nations is a simulation of the UN General Assembly and other multilateral bodies. In Model UN, students step into the shoes of ambassadors from UN member states to debate current issues on the organization's agenda.  While playing their roles as ambassadors, student delegates make speeches, prepare draft resolutions, negotiate with allies and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the Model UN conference rules of procedure – all in the interest of mobilizing international cooperation to resolve problems that affect countries all over the world.

Before playing out their ambassadorial roles in a Model UN simulation, students research the issue that their committee will address.  Model UN participants learn how the international community acts on its concerns about topics including peace and security, human rights, the environment, food and hunger, economic development and globalization.  Model UN delegates also look closely at the needs, goals and foreign policies of the countries they will represent at the event.  The insights they gain from their exploration of history, geography, culture, economics and science contribute to the authenticity of the simulation when the role playing gets under way. The delegates' in-depth knowledge of their countries guarantees a lively and memorable experience.

This year marks the 67th Anniversary of the United Nations founding in San Francisco.  To give students (delegates) a flavor of the UN’s real-world accomplishments, former United Nations Development Programme Senior Officer Herb Behrstock will be serving as the keynote speaker at the Opening Plenary ceremony.  Behrstock is the current president of the UN Association, East Bay Chapter. 

Participating in this year’s Contra Costa County Model UN are students from: Acalanes High (Lafayette), Antioch High, Athenian High (Danville), Campolindo High (Moraga), Carondelet High (Concord), Deer Valley High (Antioch), De La Salle High (Concord), Dougherty Valley High (San Ramon), Las Lomas (Walnut Creek), Liberty High (Brentwood), Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory High (Livermore), Marin Academy (San Rafael), Northgate High (Walnut Creek), and San Ramon Valley High (Danville). 

For additional information about CCCOE’s Model UN and other academic events, please contact Peggy Marshburn at (925) 942-3420, visit their website.