On March 2 and 3, a group of juniors went to New York City to attend UNIS-UN, the United Nations International Schools conference. The trip, which was organized with the help of the IB Magnet Foundation’s support, allowed students from RM to discuss issues of global importance with students from other IB schools around the world.
UNIS is an annual forum for students to come together and debate global issues, listen to lectures, and meet with their peers from around the globe. This trip marks the 41st year that the conference has been held, and the second time that students from RM have been invited to attend.
“We ask the junior teachers for names, and then we have those students fill out a small application,” Ms. Hoover, one of the organizers for this trip, said. “The committee then evaluates the applications and picks the students they feel can contribute.”
The issue focus at this conference was immigration, specifically that of refugees, and the impact of recent White House policies.
“The focus is really to engage students on issues that are of global importance. In the past years we’ve discussed things like internet communication, and last year we were talking about water and environmentalism. So every year there’s a focus, which is different depending on where we are in politics at the moment,” Ms. Hoover added.
The conference itself took place in the actual United Nations building, which is the formal gathering place of the real United Nations, an international body that meets regularly to discuss and address issues that impact countries worldwide. The trip gave students the chance to experience what it is like, debating real life issues on a global scale.
“UNIS was a really cool experience,” noted junior Max Webster. “We got to go to New York City and go to the real UN. It was really unique to see students from all over the world there, and learn about their different cultures and perspectives, too.”
In the future, Ms. Hoover also hopes to create a similar experience throughout Montgomery County as well. “My hope is that after having two years of students attend, we’ll have gathered enough feedback and exposure to it, that we can take it to the next level. That would be to create something similar on a smaller sale, maybe between the IB schools of the county,” she explained.