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Students attend ‘model’ conference

Webb School of Knoxville was well represented this year at the 27th Annual Tennessee YMCA Model United Nations conference.

Webb’s nine sophomore girls and two freshmen boys were among the approximately 600 students to attend one of the two three-day conferences, which took place at Embassy Suites in Franklin.

The conference is organized based on the real-life configuration of the United Nations. Teams of two to three students choose countries they wish to represent. They spend time before the conference authoring position papers based on the political, economic, social, and humanitarian issues facing their respective nations. At the conference, students must be prepared to represent their country as delegates and present a resolution addressing one of those issues; first to the subcommittees for a vote, and if their resolution is passed, they address the General Assembly.

Representing Qatar were Webb freshmen Alex Thomas and Hunter Little with a resolution on water purification and prevention of water-borne diseases. Their resolution passed in both committees and in the General Assembly. Classmates Aditi Harsh, Sarah Fultz and Kristyn Kelly represented the Marshall Islands. Their resolution called for international assistance for AIDS prevention. It passed committee and was ranked in the top 50 resolutions. Unfortunately, the General Assembly adjourned before the delegation could present.

Mozambique delegates Hannah Johnson, Annie Freeland and Blair Brandt presented a resolution that called for international assistance to end human trafficking and to reform the judicial system to reduce crime rates. Their resolution also passed in committee, but time expired before they could present in the General Assembly.

And representing the island nation of Vanuatu were Eileen Robinson, Brooke Gilbert and Olivia Thornton with a resolution regarding the improvement of medical services in their country.

Out of the more than 600 student delegates attending the conference, Aditi Harsh earned special recognition as one of only 15 participants to be awarded Outstanding Delegate.

Webb Upper School history teacher and Model UN faculty advisor Rachel Tinker said she was very pleased by how the students performed at this year’s conference, noting that none of the sophomores or freshmen had participated in prior years, and they really did not know what to expect. She added that the students had a great time and are already planning for next year.

“They’re ready to go again,” Tinker said.

“Some of the girls who participated this year actually want to run for state office and help direct the conference when they become seniors.”

In addition to expanding students’ awareness of international issues, Model UN also helps young peoples’ public speaking skills, she said, pointing out that delegates have to present their resolution to about 50 to 75 student subcommittee members and then if it’s passed, they have to speak again in front of the entire 600-plus-member General Assembly.

“They have to really be prepared. They have to know what they’re talking about and be able to answer some pretty tough questions,” she added. “Our students did really well. They enjoyed themselves, learned a lot and want to do it again.”


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