High school students recently convened in Neville Hall for PC’s first-ever Model UN Conference. They may have come from schools as close to the PC campus as Clinton High School (3 miles away) and as far away as Green Hope (268 miles away), but they visited campus to tackle issues that face countries the world over, like Estonia (7,668 miles away).
“This event served as a platform for global-minded students from across the state of South Carolina and North Carolina to come together and work with each other on solutions to important global issues,” said Dr. David Liu, associate professor of political science and advisor of PC’s Model UN Club.
Similar to What You’d See on CNN
The conference simulated the UN’s General Assembly and World Health Organization (WHO). PC students chaired the General Assembly and WHO while high school students represented member states from the UN.
Before the conference, the high school students dove deep into two major issues affecting their countries: refugee settlement and integration as well as antibiotic resistance.
Neville Hall 121 and 122 classrooms looked similar to what you might see on CNN: The names of countries were on placards that lined tables in the room. Students stood at the tables and voiced how refugee settlement, integration and antibiotic resistance affected the people in their countries.
Preparing the Young Generation
PC students presided over the sessions, ruled on the points and motions, and facilitated discussions within each chamber. The assistant chair and the rapporteur helped maintain records and provided assistance to the chair as directed.
This UN Conference was a time for students to practice diplomacy, but it was serious business too. Dr. Stefan Wiecki, associate professor of history, reminded them of the seriousness in his keynote address.
“We easily forget the lessons of history,” Wiecki said. “We assume that human society is always progressing toward the good, when in fact our current world order is fragile and human progress is halting and easily reversed.”
“Peace and human rights need to be constantly defended and promoted, and this task will soon fall onto our young generation.”
Wiecki said that the conference did more than introduce students to global politics; it stressed the importance of a liberal arts education.
“A liberal arts education of our future world leaders is of key importance,” Wiecki said. “They will need excellent communication skills, a strong sense of social and moral responsibility, critical thinking and problem-solving skills in order to make our world a more peaceful, free and just place.”
Take These Words to Heart
The students received awards for best position paper, outstanding delegate and best delegation during the closing ceremony.
The awards certainly represented jobs well done for the students. But, according to Wiecki, the greatest takeaway from the Model UN Conference is for students to remember the words of former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan.
“Annan said that ‘education is a human right with immense power to transform,’” Wiecki said. “‘On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.’
“I hope that the participants of our Model UN Conference will take his words to heart and will strive to become the engaged and responsible global citizens that our world needs them to be.”
Preview PC is April 27. We’d love to see you then so we can tell you more about Model UN and all the other ways you can get involved at PC. Check out the Visit Campus page for more info.