“Russia won’t accept those sanctions. They have too many economic ties with China.”

“I think they will. The North Korean threat is too much for them to handle, they’ll have to accept the sanctions.”

“They’re probably working on a counter argument right this minute. We have to start acting instead of just discussing a hypothetical.”

Though the exchange above could easily have been a snippet from the diplomatic wheelings and dealings of heads of state as they meet in Washington DC, in fact this conversation was overheard among the Avenues middle grades Model UN delegation at the High School for Business Technology and Enterprise in Brooklyn, where our students recently attended their first Model UN conference of the year. Students worked in double delegations, collaborating as pairs to represent countries such as Slovakia, Bangladesh and Nigeria. Together they participated in two committees: DISEC (Disarmament and International Security Committee), where they discussed the North Korean Missile Crisis, and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), where they debated the rising levels of mercury in the world’s oceans.

Looking sharp at the Model UN event.

Looking sharp at the Model UN conference.

Meeting other students at the conference.

Meeting other students.

After presenting their country’s position on the subject, students engaged in debates with other countries and sought allies with whom to write a resolution. These intense debates were an opportunity for students to apply strategies they have been hard at work practicing in the Model UN club. The club has met every week since November to discuss real issues facing the world today and debate different approaches to solving them in a diplomatic way. Mirroring the debate procedures of the real United Nations, students practice delivering their country’s position on the topic and how best to work with other nations so that their interest would be represented while working on resolutions to the crisis. The Model UN Club will continue to meet and to prepare for their second conference, coming up at Saint Ann’s School this April.

The students engaged in intense debates with one another.

The students engaged in intense debates with one another.