On February 11, 2023, Mount Madonna School (MMS) will host a Model United Nations (Model UN or MUN) conference. Titled Climate Justice for All: Addressing Inequality, this conference will focus on issues related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 13, 14 and 15: climate change, ocean health and biodiversity and the natural environment.
Model UN is found in a handful of schools in the region, and Mount Madonna School (MMS) is expanding its commitment to bring this meaningful academic experience to more local youth. In October 2022 MMS hosted a training conference to help prepare students with the academic and debate skills needed for successful MUN participation. The upcoming February 11 conference will build upon this foundation.
This conference is open to all middle and high school students in Monterey, Santa Cruz and south Santa Clara counties, including those who are homeschooling. The event will feature three committees and primary topics:
- Human Rights Council – “Promoting Women Leaders in Climate Decision Making”
- United Nations Environment Program – “Sharing Green Technology in Least-Developed Countries”
- Economic and Social Council – “Promoting Sustainable Tourism to Benefit Local Populations”
The cost to participate is $40 per student and includes conference materials and lunch. Scholarships are available, contact MMS Model UN coordinator Lisa Martin at (408) 846-4029 or to discuss. Mount Madonna School’s goal is to make this conference possible for as many local students as possible.
To register for the conference, complete the registration form on the MMS MUN Feb.11th Conference website. Registration includes making payment and choosing a committee. Once registration is completed, participants will be assigned a country and emailed with this information, including access to research guides that will help them in preparing for the conference.
Mount Madonna sophomore Ezze Farrazaino, is part of the MUN student leadership team helping to organize the conference.
“During the planning process, I’ve been reaching out to organizations about the conference and figuring out scheduling different pieces, such as training sessions taking place before the conference,” said Farrazaino. “ As for participating, I have not yet received my committee assignment, however if I were to go as a delegate, I would like to be on the Human Rights Council committee with the topic of women leaders in climate justice, which I find to be a very important issue in the real world and can be a relevant, interesting discussion in a MUN setting.”
Mount Madonna Lower School Director Lisa Martin reflected on the academic value for students of the Model UN experience.
“Model UN is an engaging way to learn about global issues and develop numerous academic skills while being inherently social in nature,” commented Martin “”In combining the academic components with opportunities for student leadership, that makes Model UN even more impactful.”
Martin, along with MMS faculty members Chrislaine Miller and Greg Shirley, are coordinators of the school’s Model United Nations program.
“This is the second conference MMS is hosting this school year, and our students have worked hard with students at other schools to put the conference together, while also preparing to attend as delegates,” noted Shirley. “MMS is small, but it’s mighty, and I expect another impressive feat from our students on February 11!”
Model UN is practiced by close to half a million middle, high school and university students around the world each year. It is a popular and engaging way to learn about complex global issues. In a MUN simulation, students assume the role of a diplomat of a foreign country and look at an issue or problem through the lens of their “adopted” country. Students then work together to forge consensus around a resolution that addresses the issue. It is both highly academic and inherently social, making it a fun way to learn about complex, multi-faceted issues.
Public speaking and debate are most commonly associated with MUN participation, but there are other academic and soft skills that grow through Model UN participation. To successfully participate in MUN delegates must know their issue well, understand multiple perspectives, argue their point of view and be open to compromise. These include highly targeted research, writing policy briefs and resolutions, working towards consensus, active listening, negotiation and advocacy. This skill development occurs while exploring real-world issues like climate change, food security, gender equality and equal access to justice. Participants take deep dives into these content areas while simultaneously developing the skills needed to convey a particular viewpoint and find consensus that drives real solutions.
Action and Impact
Mount Madonna School’s MUN program focuses on the ways in which global issues play out in our region. A larger discussion on water scarcity and climate change has very real impacts on agriculture and tourism in the Monterey Bay region. Model UN can drive awareness and action on these issues by pointing students in the direction of key stakeholders and most importantly how they can be involved in actively creating change in their own communities.
Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,
Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.