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27 September 2018
GCDC Partner IOM Interacts in the Classroom to Promote Migration Issues

On September 26, experts from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had the opportunity to speak to students from Alice Deal Middle School, a public school in northwest Washington, DC. Around 50 students in total participate in the school's Model UN program, including going to conferences in the DC-area and organizing their own middle school MUN conference. 

IOMVisit918Rachel Sanchez (center), Operations Associate at USA FOR IOM, speaks to the middle school students at Alice Deal. 

The students from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade were preparing for an upcoming mini-Model UN simulation related to migration that was part of GCDC’s year-round curriculum program. In these mini-simulations, students take on the role of a diplomat and represent their assigned countries, and find solutions with other delegates. The question-and-answer period focused on how countries can work together in real life, what major challenges stand in the way of countries helping migrants in all their forms, and what current situations are happening across the globe.

One of the most difficult aspects to learning about migration is to understand the massive scale that the issue operates at. According to IOM, approximately one in seven people is a migrant. It is estimated that about 258 million people are international migrants who have left their country, and approximately 750 million are internal migrants who have moved within the borders of their country. 

IOM serves as the United Nations Migration Agency, and is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits both migrants and society. Established in 1951, IOM provides humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, promotes international cooperation on migration issues, and helps governments and non-governmental organizations find solutions to migration-related challenges. IOM aims to protect migrants' human rights that are guaranteed by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, promotes awareness of migrant issues, and monitors and updates statistics on migration trends around the world.

In addition, the speakers gave a comprehensive overview of how international relations and the skills of Model UN can play into a career. Model UN requires a variety of abilities to succeed, including public speaking, negotiation, writing, research, and advocacy, to get your ideas across. The vast majority of these skills are transferrable across different industries, fields, and careers. Students also have the opportunity through Model UN to learn about a variety of international issues, from migration to gender equality to the environment, and more.