April 29, 2020
The pandemic has changed how Global Classrooms DC functions overnight. Through the disappointment of having to cancel the Spring 2020 Model UN Conference, our team has been working with various schools to support their efforts to continue Model UN.

As an example of how MUN clubs are adapting, Cabin John Middle School hosted its first-ever online conference on Saturday, April 25. After being inspired by the success of the virtual Alice Deal Model UN Conference (ADMUN) on April 4, a fantastic group of parents from Maryland set out to create their own virtual experience with their students. Although they had never hosted a virtual session before, all of the parents – Audré Park, Shreelata Durbhakula, and Bouchra Araji – took on the challenge of hosting a conference with students from Cabin John, as well as Bells Mill Elementary and Alice Deal Middle School.

All students had been preparing for the GCDC Spring Conference, and had individual assignments for countries and committees they were intending to represent. To make the most of students’ work, Ms. Park, Ms. Durbhakula, and Ms. Araji hosted three Model UN committees based of the GCDC committees meant for April 2020: the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Over the Zoom platform, students from Cabin John Middle School served as the virtual Committee Chairs, running the session as if the students were convening together in person.

For the IOM committee, the student delegates discussed “Protecting Against Forced Migration Due to Conflict”. The group developed a singular resolution that focused on funding “existing and new peacekeeping groups” and utilizing social media to educate more people about migrants.

For the UNEP committee, the delegates had two competing resolutions. The students debated different methods to “Advance Responsible Consumption for Sustainable Growth”. One paper emphasized the use of renewable energy, especially in “[limiting] oil, coal, and natural gas implants; [enforcing] restrictions on the usage of non-renewable resources; [and investing] more money in geothermal and hydroelectric power sources.” The other paper discussed stopping pollution and reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Finally, for the UNDP committee, three resolutions came out of the delegates’ work, all brainstorming ideas on “Promoting Women’s Political Participation”. The first group created a Political Participation Among Women Programme (PPAWP), that will seek to establish an education program that assists women in participating politically. The second group emphasized educating the public on women’s discrimination in the workplace. The final group proposed “creating programs showing younger girls the positions of women in power” to inspire them to leader their own countries.

Over the course of the two and a half hours of committees, the students worked together, despite the inability to convene in person. The event will set the stage for future virtual sessions, within their own schools and outside of them, as well.

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