Last week, 12 middle school and 4 upper elementary students ventured out to New York City to participate in the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) conference. This program allowed students to place themselves in the shoes of representatives from various countries and UN committees. Acting as delegates along with over a thousand other Montessori students from around the world, they worked to debate and resolve important international problems.
Nearly six months of preparation went into this event. Students met weekly after school to research the three countries they were representing: China, Morocco, and Brazil. They also researched and developed positions on the topics they needed to debate at the conference. Significant real-world problems were represented in these topics--from nuclear proliferation in the middle east to protecting the global climate to eliminating racism and xenophobia.
Each student wrote a paper and a 1-minute speech outlining their country's position on their topics and proposing a possible solution. History, government, culture, language, and public speaking were woven together beautifully in their work.
Once in New York, our students negotiated with others of differing viewpoints, resolved conflicts, navigated the UN's strict Rules of Procedure, and helped develop resolutions that outlined their proposed solutions--all in the name of pursuing global peace and justice. Our own Aditi and Shreya were even chosen by their committees to speak from the podium of the General Assembly at the UN headquarters!
All their completed resolutions will go directly to the desk of the UN's Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Our students all did phenomenal work!
The work of the United Nations is perfect as a framework for studies at this stage of development. The peacemaking process is a powerful concept for the adolescent to explore, and the Montessori Model United Nations program provides an excellent framework within which that exploration can take place in a meaningful and exciting way.