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2017 Southside Virginia Model United Nations Conference

Posted On: 12/5/2017 9:31 AM

research, critical thinking, and public speaking skills

Recently, seventeen students from Fuqua School descended upon Hampden-Sydney College’s campus to participate in 2017 Southside Virginia Model United Nations conference. The Model U.N., a nationwide, student-led program that imitates the United Nations General Assembly, gives students the opportunity to learn the functions and responsibilities of the General Assembly and employ research, critical thinking, and public speaking skills as they participate. They debate current important global issues and work through potential diplomatic solutions to those problems.

Students from different regional schools—Amelia Academy, Appomattox Christian School, Appomattox County HS, Cumberland County HS, Prince Edward County HS, and Fuqua School—represented over 25 different countries and addressed real-world issues that face the U.N. and its member nations. The issues ranged from education to warfare and many other struggles in between. Maggie Encarnacion and Irene Thornton, representing Pakistan, were honored as the second-best delegation; Max Gebauer and Roman Davis, representing China, were honored as the third-best delegation based on their contribution to the conference, their speeches in support of their positions, and their interactions throughout the assembly. As Peyton Wiecking, representing Senegal reports, "This year was the most fun I had at Model U.N. We got to discuss topics ranging from education to the crisis in Myanmar (Burma). It was tough working with peers from other schools to get resolutions passed but we did. Everyone from Fuqua spoke at least once and debate on the floor was fun as well (even though we got off topic really easily)."

Model U.N Sponsor Mr. Niels Kiewiet de Jonge shared, "Over the past few years I have enjoyed working with our Model U.N. delegates. I believe that our Model U.N. participates have profited from the experience in a variety of ways. In one way or another, each of our delegates know that good preparation is a key to success. Many played their roles with conviction when they presented their country’s national and regional interests to the assembly. For those who chose not to speak publicly, they were actively engaged listeners who seriously followed the proceedings. In all, the students enjoyed themselves as U.N. delegates."

This annual conference originated with two then Fuqua School Juniors. In 2013, Jacob Miller and Peyton Wall were told that Fuqua School was unable to create a Model United Nations club due to the school’s distance from any conferences. Rather than lose hope, Jacob Miller and Peyton Wall decided that students of Southside Virginia deserved access to such an event. With the collaboration of Hampden-Sydney’s Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest and The Union Philanthropic Literary Society, this vision became a reality, expanding opportunities, growing connections, and cultivating global knowledge among students throughout Southside Virginia.

Pictured l-r: Fuqua School seniors (sitting) Naomi Painter, Peyton Wiecking, (standing) Madeline Hite, and Jamie Carkenord participating in the 2017 Southside Virginia Model United Nations conference.

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