CU-Mansfield Holds Inaugural High School Model UN Conference

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Commonwealth University-Mansfield held the inaugural High School Model United Nations Conference at which 33 students from five area high schools represented 28 countries in a simulated session of the UN General Assembly.

Students were given topics prior to the event, and high school teachers prepared them to represent their respective countries. The event was coordinated by CU political science professors, Drs. Jonathan C. Rothermel and Jeff Bosworth, with the assistance of CU-Mansfield political science students and members of the Political Science Club.

The day-long event included an opening ceremony, working sessions, lunch in the Upper Manser dining hall and a closing ceremony. Invited keynote speaker, Dr. Yulia Bosworth, associate professor of French and linguistics at Binghamton University opened the day with a talk entitled, "Unlocking Your Potential and the World: Exploring Languages and Culture in the Age of AI."

In the morning session, delegations tackled the issue of climate change. Students engaged in both formal and informal discussions and debates. Some delegates took the opportunity over lunch to continue lobbying for support of their positions. Two resolutions calling for more support for climate change initiatives were approved. Next, the delegates debated whether to support assistance to Ukraine. A resolution proposed by Iran to ban military aid to both Ukraine and Russia passed. Awards were announced for Best Delegate and Best Position Papers.

The proceedings were chaired by Mansfield native, Sam Scafidi, political science major who graduated this month, along with his rapporteurs, political science majors, Dallas Schultz, of Wellsboro, and Eli Kaufman, of Nelson.

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"I was very impressed with how well informed the students were and how when debate arose they stepped up to the challenge," Scafidi said. "I found the most interesting dynamic to be how students formed alliances not based on friendships but how they would benefit politically."

The high school teachers were strongly supportive of this experiential learning opportunity for their students and intend to return next year. The delegations included students from Addison High School, Addison, New York; Corning-Painted Post High School, Corning, New York; Cowanesque Valley High School, Westfield; New Covenant Academy, Mansfield; and Towanda Area Jr/Sr High School, Towanda.

"I can tell that the event made an impression on some of my students, and I think it is filling a need among our area's school students," said Peter Henty, Towanda teacher.

Planning for the event began last year, when Rothermel observed CU-Bloomsburg host a similar event. "We had tremendous support from my political science colleague, Dr. Peter Doerschler, who has been running a high school Model UN conference at Bloomsburg for years," Rothermel said.

Student members of the Political Science Club, including Allyson Lewis, of North Monmouth, Maine; Jaydan Montgomery, of Southfield, Michigan; Ryan O'Connor, of Canton; Daniel Storrs, of Towanda; and Mackenzie Warner, of Palmyra, assisted before and during the event.

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