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Going Global: MBTS at MMUN

In the month of March, students from Grade Six and the Middle Years Programme at MBTS took part in the 2018 Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) held in New York City. Accompanied by Upper Elementary teacher Mr. Chad and several intrepid parent volunteers, the dedicated delegation took on a host of complex, real-world issues in the Big Apple, exemplifying the leadership, creativity, confidence and courtesy that MBTS proudly espouses.

Background

The students began their MMUN journey as early as last May. The United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) were introduced to them, and they keenly and successfully organized the “Mango Tango” fundraising event in June 2017.

In September, Kai Birch (MYP) had the honour of being the delegate for Antigua and Barbuda in the committee of Disarmament and International Security (DISEC).  As a sole delegate, Kai studied mature topics of the illicit trade of light weapons and production of chemical weapons. The Grade 6 students were tasked with being the delegation from Fiji and New Zealand in the Social, Humanitarian (SOCHUM) committee and the Special Political (SPECPOL) committee. Atomic radiation and the Palestine refugee crisis were the topics for SPECPOL, and equality for disabled persons and rights of indigenous peoples were the focus for the delegates in SOCHUM.

The students worked diligently to research the facts about their designated countries and learn more about the position of these nations on the aforementioned topics. They researched the wider global issues and many conversations were shared between students, parents and teachers. This process led to detailed position papers and poignant speeches detailing each country’s stance and possible ideas on how to help resolve these complex challenges.

In conjunction with acquiring knowledge and understanding, these students spearheaded events to raise funds for the trip, such as movie nights and bake sales. In turn, their supportive parents organized a 50/50 draw at the Christmas concert. We would like to thank the entire MBTS community for supporting these fundraising events.

The trip

We arrived in New York during the late afternoon on Tuesday, March 13th. After a short ride in to Manhattan from JFK airport, we arrived at the Marriott Marquis overlooking Times Square, and we were checked into our rooms by 5:30 pm. Commencing on Wednesday night, this hotel would host nearly two thousand students and chaperones for the MMUN on three dedicated conference floors. The glass elevators running in the middle of the hotel was an immediate hit with the children, whilst testing some of the adults’ fear of heights!

On Wednesday morning, the students and chaperones visited the Natural History Museum adjacent to Central Park. Upon entering the museum, there was an impressive dinosaur exhibit. We were all captivated by the Dark Universe presentation in the planetarium. Thank you to Ms. Cathy Childs for organizing an extraordinary opportunity for the students to go behind the scenes of the museum! It was a wonderful experience. In the afternoon, the students strolled through Central Park on the way back to the hotel for the MMUN Opening ceremonies in the evening. During the opening ceremonies, some of the student delegates participated in the flag procession while we listened to the inspiring opening remarks.

The committee sessions took place on Thursday and Friday. During these sessions, the students delivered speeches to their fellow committee members. Once the speeches were completed, the delegates took part in both formal and informal consultations to discuss the many ideas shared, and to decide on resolutions. It was inspiring to observe these young minds articulate their points and incorporate many of the ideas shared by others. Some ideas were disagreed upon, but all of the delegates tried to find common ground and worked together to find an amicable resolution. Many friendships were forged over these two days with students from the United States, Chile, China and Canada.

On Friday night, the MMUN hosted a “Social Night.” Live acts and two inspiring young DJs kept the students and parents dancing until 9:30 pm.  Our students gave out Caymanite, stickers and magnets to their new friends. They received bracelets, board games and other generous gifts as a memory of this great experience.

Early on Saturday morning, all of the students and parents descended upon the United Nations building to gather in the General Assembly Hall. This would be the setting for all the committees to deliver their resolutions by a chosen closing committee. The students had the wonderful experience of sitting in the delegation seats in the General Assembly hall.  As part of the SOCHUM committee, Harper had the honour of being voted by her peers to deliver the closing remarks on this truly global stage.

After a quick bite to eat, we had just enough time to catch a Broadway show. The students voted on the Lion King and enjoyed the show after their hard work during the week. After the show, there was a chance to do some last-minute shopping before heading back to our wonderful island.  We left early Sunday morning and arrived back at Owen Roberts Airport by midday on Sunday.

It was a wonderfully dynamic trip! Again, thank you to all the students who put in tremendous effort and dedication into learning about all the components of the conference. You represented MBTS and the Cayman Islands with great poise, humility and grace.

Thank you to the families who assisted in preparing the students for the event and providing positive energy throughout the visit to NYC. We look forward to preparing for the possibility of another trip next year with the current Grade Five students.

 

 

 

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