Jewish Day School Students Debate Global Issues at YU Model United Nations

Jan 22, 2008 — Approximately 500 yeshiva high school students from throughout the United States and Canada had an opportunity to promote international law, wrestle with world hunger, and address the crisis of weapons of mass destruction this February. At least in theory.

At the annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations (YUNMUN), organized by the YU Office of Admissions and run by YU undergraduates, students from 44 high schools participated in a simulated United Nations conference. The annual event, held this year at the Sheraton Stamford, CT, February 3-5, provides students with a forum to learn about diplomacy and debate tough issues affecting the global community.

“Our goal was to engage the students in relevant issues,” said Josh Levy, a senior at Yeshiva College and this year’s secretary general of YUNMUN. “We instilled in them an understanding that there is a world so much larger that the one in which they live.”

Each participating school was represented by a delegation of five to eighteen students and a faculty advisor. They spent months of preparation learning to represent their assigned country knowledgeably and skillfully, and submitted “position papers” outlining their country’s stance on designated issues. At the conference, students responded to crises that arise, negotiated for their country’s best interests, and penned resolutions for passage in the General Assembly.

The conference was divided into 15 committees, each of which was devoted to dealing with a specific UN sector. A team of Yeshiva University undergraduates chaired the committees, acting as passionate advocates of international involvement and as role models for YU’s mission of Torah Umadda [Torah learning combined with secular studies] .

Three new committees relevant to current affairs debuted this year: the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and a committee called 1540, focusing on weapons of mass destruction.

At YUNMUN’s close, an eagerly anticipated awards ceremony recognized outstanding individuals and schools.

Levy said, “Between a great staff, intriguing topics, and the power of competition, this was one of the best years yet.”

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