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Feb 4, 2009 — Hundreds of high school students from across North America will gather at the Sheraton Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut to debate the world’s fate at the 19th annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN) conference. The event will take place on February 8 – 10 and is expected to draw about 450 students representing 42 high schools from both the United States and Canada.

“We hope to give the students the opportunity to participate in an intellectual conference, learn the processes of the United Nations and diplomacy, and provide a forum to discuss issues facing the global community,” said Yehudis Isenberg, the event organizer.

Playing the roles of real United Nations delegates, students will represent a variety of views, including those with which they may not traditionally agree with. They research their country’s position, adding both to their knowledge of world affairs and to their appreciation of the importance of preparation and critical evaluation.

During simulated meetings of the UN, the students will debate topics such as world health, disarmament, and trade and development. Each school will represent at least one UN-member country and students will be assigned to one of 15 committees, including the International Court of Justice, the World Health Organization, and the Middle East Summit. Beyond learning about politics, public speaking, and negotiation, students will meet and work with peers from other high schools.

The conference will also include guest speakers, Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, and Tom Martinez, a noted speaker and human rights activist. Martinez, a former member of the KKK, will talk about his experiences and how hatred, racism and bigotry are not only extremely prevalent in today’s day and age, but provide a major impetus toward achieving of world peace.

YUNMUN Secretary General, Ilana Snyder, a Stern College for Women senior, will participate in her eighth YUNMUN conference. “In my senior year on Model UN, our topic was Darfur, and, as the delegate from Rwanda, which had seen such atrocities, I learned to care,” said Snyder, who subsequently chose to pursue a career in human rights law.

“It is my hope that the students will garner this passion for a specific topic. The most important thing is that each individual student connects to any issue they strongly care about.”

For more information on YUNMUN, visit the conference’s Web site at www.yu.edu/yunmun.