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Students develop global perspective at Model United Nations

Seven local students attended this year's Model United Nations. Pictured, back left, are delegation director Amy Rowan, Rachel Wester, Simon Hedin, Hayden Schutt and Hastings YMCA sports director Brian Davis. Natalie Sorenson, Savannah Henderson and Kaitlin O'Tool are picture in the middle row and Evan Scully is in the front. Submitted photo

Seven local students attended this year's Model United Nations conference in Minneapolis on March 30 through April 1. The conference, hosted by the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, brought together nearly 700 students in grades 7-12.

"Model U.N. helps students develop a global perspective," said Orville Lindquist, state program executive for Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government. "They will sharpen their researching, writing and speaking skills; but more importantly, they will grow as leaders and learn to respect opposing points of view and bring about peaceful change in the world."

Model United Nations (MUN) participants represent nations from around the world and practice compromise and diplomacy to solve global problems. Amy Rowan, Hastings delegation director, said the conference is a great way to get young people thinking and talking about relevant topics.

Rowan said that MUN is very similar to the Model Assembly conference that was held in January at the State Capitol. The difference is that MUN focused on international issues instead of the state level issues. Students were assigned a country and a committee. They researched their country's stance on what their committee was assigned before the conference. For example, one of the students was assigned to the Human Rights Council, which discussed topics like Children in Armed Conflict and Birthright Citizenship. The student chose to represent Belgium so she discussed the topics through the eyes of a Belgium citizen.

This year's topics that students discussed included foreign involvement in elections, control of the internet, tax evasion by multicultural corporations, birthright citizenship and others.

This year was Natalie Sorenson's first year attending MUN. The ninth-grader said that she was placed in a social, political and cultural committee where she discussed and wrote solutions to gender segregation and oceanic biosphere depletion.

"Attending MUN made me more cognisant of my surroundings," Sorenson said. "Before the conference I was still concerned about global issues but MUN helped me to realize that I can be the change that the world is looking for."

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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