MANASQUAN — Students in Manasquan High School’s Model UN Club will stretch their diplomatic muscles at the National High School Model UN [NHSMUN] in New York City in March for the first time since the pandemic hit. Jim Fagen’s band of high school students will put their United Nations knowledge to the test in a weekend-long debate between hundreds of international and national students.
Mr. Fagen’s group of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors is just a small fraction of the participants in the Model UN. About 1,400 students will be flying in from all over the world to take part in the event, according to Mr. Fagen. He explained that his class will be split up and sent to separate rooms, with only their partner as a familiar face. In their designated room, they will face off in a diplomatic debate with about 200 other delegates.
The Model UN is a series of mock debates between students who represent the different countries of the United Nations. In pairs, the students will be assigned a country and a topic. For example, one pair might get assigned the security counsel for Italy. Mr. Fagen’s 34 students will represent either Italy or Nicaragua.
The students will be placed in a room with other delegates from the 15 United Nation countries who have been assigned the same topic. The goal is to reach a resolution for whatever issue is being discussed.
The students have been researching their countries extensively, according to Mr. Fagen. The trick is to always stay in character during the debate. Students must memorize where their country stands on all current and past social, economic, and political issues, and play to that knowledge, even if the student disagrees with their country’s stance.
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