KO’s Model UN team will travel to Portugal on Nov. 17, to explore the cities of Lisbon and Porto, as they attend the Oporto British School Model UN Conference, returning home on Nov. 25.
Upper School history teacher and faculty advisor of KO’s Model UN Stacey Savin said that the idea behind this trip is to both attend the conference and see a different part of the world. Ms. Savin said that she tries to schedule conferences that take place during school breaks and in appealing places with fascinating architecture.
Ms. Savin said that this particular conference started last year and is expected to hold around 200 people worldwide.
“Portugal is the ideal location because it is warm during the winter; it exhibits the history of the renaissance with a wonderful spirit, and it is safe and beautiful,” she said. “Plus, it is cheaper that we are going in the offseason.”
Ms. Savin said that she plans to spend the first week in Lisbon and Porto, exploring the cities and getting to know the local kids.
Then, the group intends to spend the last week at the actual conference. She said that she and the school planned the trip and that there wasn’t any travel agency involved. “You wouldn’t get the same quality trip otherwise,” she said.
Ms. Savin said that Model UN matters because it offers an opportunity for human interactions about international and current affairs that are important and interesting. “Real-face to-face communication with peers is something people love,” she said.
Junior Ella Schwartz said that she is heading into her third year participating in the Model UN. She said that she heard about it in the club fair assembly during her freshman year. “I decided to join because I wanted to keep up with world issues—the overall spectrum of relationships, not just about the US—such as the right for women to wear burqas in France,” she said. “I like hearing the different sides of a situation.”
Ella said that so far her best experience with the Model UN was during the 2016 Russia Model UN trip.
She said that she found the country and history beautiful and interesting while being new and different. “I really liked the fact that we had a private tour guide— we get to be independent, walking tours and learning history,” she said.
Ella said that she loved to travel and that it is one of her favorite things to do. “My parents can’t travel much because of work, but I would like to see different countries to gain more perspectives and broader views and make friends,” she said. “That’s why Model UN trips are perfect for me.”
She said that she still keeps in touch with one of the friends she made from Russia, discussing politics and sharing their perspectives of viewing the world. Ella said that she enjoyed the teamwork in terms of getting resolutions passed and making improvisational speeches.
“Model UN also made me more confident,” Ella said. “You couldn’t pay me to stand up in front of a crowd before. But because of MUN and its encouraging atmosphere, my experience with it changed me. It’s also really fun, too.”
Senior Rabih Chughtai, one of the Chairs of KO’s Model UN club, said that he also started Model UN freshman year.
He said that he has gone to the Yale Model UN conference along with a conference in St. Petersburg and that all of those experiences have been great.
“I had the opportunity to discuss very interesting topics such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the South China Sea with students from all around the world,” Rabih said. “I love doing Model UN because I get to improve on my public speaking skills and be politically active in a very intellectual environment. My favorite part is probably creating connections with people from around the country and around the world in order to solve global issues.”
Junior Yusuf Rashid said that his Model UN journey began during eighth-grade where he competed in the KO Model UN conference.
He said that Model UN appealed to him because it is concerned with global events and involves problem-solving skills.
“I love Model UN because you can meet new people from around the world and collaborate with them to find real solutions to real-world problems that affect everyone,” Yusuf said. “It’s really fun as you meet new people but also gives you a chance to talk about the most important questions in global affairs and try to find solutions.”