Eleven James Monroe High School (JMHS) students traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, from Oct. 8 through Oct. 11 for the Georgia Tech Model United Nations (GTMUN) Conference. Previous attendees have noted that due to its rigor it is excellent preparation for the Harvard MUN Conference, which JMHS has again been selected to attend. The students joined over 1,000 other high school students from over forty high schools across the United States to debate critical topics such as maternal health, economic sanctions, proliferation of nuclear weapons, genetically modified organisms, artificial intelligence, protection of historical and cultural monuments, and the impact of ecotourism on local economies.
The JMHS debaters represented the Syrian Arab Republic, which neighbors Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. They served on a variety of committees working on problems endemic to both Lebanon and the entire world in the following areas: Defense and Security, Economics and Finance, Social and Humanitarian, International Atomic Energy, Legal, World Health Organization, an Ad-Hoc committee, and a Plenary session with all the participating countries involved.
Shane Arthur, Abbigail Mathis, Sadie Maxey, Cole Thomas, Eli Thomas, Bryceson Whitt, Hannah Jewell, Katelin Fullen, Danni Dunbar, Rileigh Jackson, and Kiersten Nelson made the trip and represented JMHS well: co-sponsoring several resolutions that ultimately passed their committees. In addition to the conference, the students visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum, the Tellus Science Museum, and toured the Georgia Institute of Technology campus.
Experience at this conference will pave the way for further success at the Harvard MUN program, for which JMHS has again qualified. Although Model United Nations is not a class at JMHS as it is in some other high schools, the students gain valuable academic experience in research, critical thinking, logic, written and verbal communication, and empathy by participating in it. The debate competition was not funded by Georgia Tech and would not have been possible without the generosity of the Monroe County Board of Education, which approved funds from the school levy to assist with the trip. Each student was also responsible for cost sharing a portion of the trip.