"Model UN is a fantastic opportunity to learn," Anthony Nwagwu BHHS student says. "We have a lot of experienced and successful debaters this year." "We truly are an amazing team and we are all friends," Emily Smith, one of four student Secretary Generals, adds. "We've won the state championship four years in a row, so we bring our dedication and our knowledge to this program."
The Bloomfield Hills High School Model UN Team recently hosted more than 1,000 students for the 22nd Annual SouthEast Michigan Model United Nations Association (SEMMUNA) Fall Conference. As the largest high school Model UN event in the state of Michigan, the event attracted 40 student teams in Michigan.
"This is the first time we hosted SEMMUNA in the new Bloomfield Hills High School," Smith says. Nwagwu explains how the new building provides an exceptional space for Model UN events, "The ability to host it here allows us to really cultivate the Model UN community. Our school is very large and each space is built for collaboration. One of the big key points in diplomacy and Model UN is to collaborate with other countries and delegates to fix a world problem. I think BHHS provides the optimum environment to promote that."
The SEMMUNA conference had a variety of topics, a big draw for attending schools. "We had a good balance of committees, something for all levels," Smith says. Many students were assigned to General Assembly committees such as Children in Conflict, Use of Social Media by Terrorist Organizations, Eradication of Poverty, and AIDS in Africa. Other special committees covered topics such as food insecurity in Yemen, nuclear arms in North Korea, emerging energy, water stress, and the unionization of domestic workers.
BHHS Freshman Paul Silaghi was a first-time participant and represented Ethiopia. "Today I learned about collaboration among various countries and how we can all come together to solve common issues."
"We had some crazy topics like the weaponization of space that are both interesting and more challenging for our varsity members," Smith adds. Niveytha Nithiyananthan, BHHS student who organized both the opening and closing ceremonies of the conference, concurs. "These are topics you don't really think about in school, so it makes you push harder."
State Senator Stabenow visited several committee rooms at the conference and was impressed with the fact that students were discussing high-level current events. "We were in a room where we were talking about North Korea. There are no easy answers on that one at all, but it's really important that people have to grapple with things to see that it's not easy." Stabenow was invited by Brady Crimmins, BHHS Junior, who had met her at a local charity event.
Rachel Kalusniak, a 2016 BHHS alumnae and president of the Model UN Club at Grand Valley State University, chaired a committee debating the rebuilding of Iraq. She agrees that the students came well-prepared to the conference. "Everyone seems to know the details, like how much monetary aid their countries are willing to give. That is very impressive because it can be hard to find at times."
"I enjoy seeing how my peers get involved and what they learn from the experience," Akram Albeer, BHHS student says. Students were expected to stay in character during the debates. "Students represent the ideas and themes of countries they are assigned," explains Nwagwu. "In order to realistically come up with a solution, you have to represent the international community to the best of your ability."
The BHHS Model UN Team is excited to announce their plans to host a first-of-its-kind Multi-Lingual Model UN Conference on Saturday, February 3, 2018. This conference will not only be organized by BHHS students who are fluent in a variety of world languages including German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, French, and Arabic, but entire debates will be completed in languages other than English.
Posted November 28, 2017.