by Benjamin Bison ’16
[This is part one in a series of 10 pieces of student writing about the Inly Middle School’s experience at Montessori Model United Nations in New York City.]
This year, 10 Inly Middle School students traveled to New York City to attend Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) as part of the NGO Forum. MMUN is a conference where kids from all over the world can go and participate in a simulation of the actual United Nations. Groups either go representing the perspective and interests of a specific country or having created an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) about a particular issue (this year that issue was climate change). Our whole Inly team separated into groups of two to create a total of five different NGOs. Our NGOs covered a wide variety of topics ranging from wind farms to seawalls.
Once at the conference, we began working and collaborating with kids from all over the world. We shared our NGOs and worked on perfecting them. We also had the option to team up with other kids with similar NGOs to create one big organization. At the end of the conference, we presented our NGOs to everyone in the NGO Forum part of Model UN. In addition, we watched the country delegates have their final voting ceremony in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations building.
The conference is held in New York City, so the MMUN team had the opportunity to do fun, non-conference related things while on the trip. This year, we explored Times Square and its shops, along with the Rockefeller Center and the Guggenheim Museum. We also went to various restaurants and watched the award winning Broadway show Matilda. In addition, we honored those affected by past tragedies by visiting memorials to both the trans-Atlantic slave trade and September 11th.
A major transferrable skill from this trip was money management and budgeting. Each team member had to bring around $300 cash to pay for food, transportation, and other things during the trip. We had to decide what to spend our money on and when to spend it, and we had to make those decision ourselves without the help of our teachers. Some people spent very little on the trip and came back home with large amounts of money. On the other hand, some participants spent a lot and only came home with a few dollars. To help us stay conscious of what we were spending, we all completed a reflection at the end of each day where we looked at exactly how much we spent and what we spent it on.
MMUN was a fun trip. Although there was a lot of preparation work and joining the team was a big commitment, all the hard work pays off in the end. I encourage any student who is interested in current events to partake in MMUN if the opportunity ever presents itself, as it is a fun, memorable, unique, and worthwhile experience. I am looking forward to going again next year as an 8th grader.
For more in this series, check out these links:
“Montessori Model United Nations: In Their Own Words” by Paran Quigley and Jen McGonagle, Inly Middle School Teachers and MMUN Advisors
“Montessori Model United Nations: Work Worth Doing” by Benjamin Bison ’16
“One Delegate, Two Model UN Experiences” by Jonah Lee ’15
“Developing a Global Perspective” by Alec Perez ’15
“Follow the Leader” by Emma Kahn ’15
“Are You My Mentor?” by Alexander deMurias ’15
MMUN Reflection Excerpts by Mia Bilezikian ’15
“When I Grow Up…” by Gaby Munn ’16
“Global Group Dynamics” by Marty Morris ’15
“How It All Stacks Up: MMUN Compared to Other Field Studies” by Justin Cokinos ’16
“New York, Model UN, and Middle Schoolers — What Could Go Wrong?
(Spoiler Alert: Nothing)” by Kathryn Goebel ’15