This past week, five Island School students proudly represented our school at the National High School Model United Nations conference (NHSMUN), located in the Midtown Hilton. These five students truly took advantage of this opportunity NHSMUN provided and the chance to explore New York City for themselves.
The conference featured delegates from 40+ countries, giving it an authentic feel as they found diplomatic solutions to the world’s current challenges. Representing the country Vietnam, they did extensive research beforehand in order to portray the true interests of a developing nation.
Badara Niang '21 took part in the World Heath Organization, which worked on ways to try and curb increased suicide rates. He pleaded in front of his committee to look at the varied causes of this current crisis. The committee decided that increased access to counseling services was an important first step.
Jackson Gamby '20 and Anais Offley '21 were a part of UNTOC, tasked with trying to limit the influence of organized crime in cyberspace, including the dark web. They saw how difficult it is to protect people from these crimes while maintaining a free and open internet.
Sophia Riley '21 was a member of UNIDO, where they sought to come up with common solutions to increase the sustainability of major cities. A guest NYU professor spoke about the theory of “possibilism,” which means to find the "hard to see" solutions within the current frameworks of government. Her committee decided that access to public transportation and affordable housing were the top priorities moving forward.
Alexa Lauryn '21 was a member of UNESCAP, which debated ways to increase opportunities for minorities in the workplace. Their resolutions provided a “human security organization,” which encourages and provides education for minority groups and those that need to better understand them.
After three days of building diplomatic ties and friendships with their fellow participants, they were treated to a closing ceremony in the General Assembly of the United Nations Headquarters. This was not their only chance for sightseeing, as they traversed around Manhattan during off times with the rest of the Hawaiian cohort, including students from HTA, Hanalani, and Le Jardin. They visited the World Trade Center, Trinity Church, Wall St, Battery Park, MoMA, Times Square, the High Line, and ice skated in Central Park. They even got to sample some of Badara’s favorite Senegalese food at a Harlem restaurant, although he said his mom is a better cook! On the final night, they had the opportunity to tour backstage and meet the cast of the Broadway production Be More Chill after seeing the show.
This was a truly memorable experience, and we are grateful to the Stevens Foundation for providing the grant for the trip, as well as contributions from the school community. Traveling with the group was high school teacher Paul Schmitz, who would like to thank Model UN lead advisor Shaunessy Denton for doing all of the legwork to set up the trip. The group returned with great stories to tell and they look forward to the next opportunity to spread their Hawaiian style of diplomacy around the world.
For some pictures and videos from the week, follow the link here