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Model UN: A New Opportunity Here at Poudre

Updated: Nov 8, 2022


The United Nations is an organization founded in 1945 that maintains the mission of giving every country a place to gather, discuss their concerns on various international issues and come together to problem solve and find joint solutions. This organization has been vital in reducing conflict through preventive diplomacy and mediation as well as working to provide humanitarian aid to people and places internationally that need it (United Nations Press Corporation). This year, a new club, Model UN, has come to Poudre High School. Model UN is just as its name suggests, a Model of the United Nations. Students come together, are assigned countries to represent, and work together to research, discuss, and solve real world issues in a smaller setting. Mr. Condon, the staff sponsor of this organization here at Poudre says Model UN is similar to speech and debate. “Students get together, they’re assigned a country as if they're UN [United Nations] delegates and then they get together in a fake UN and they address some global issue, that is assigned to them. And then their job is to sort of represent their country and pass some resolution that would fix the problem.” In order to reach a true consensus, all of the represented countries agree to adopt the decision that is made, and the potential difficulty of that reflects the actual government organization.

In order to get an inside look at Model UN and hear more about the importance of this organization from a student perspective, I met with the president of Model UN at Poudre, Harper Piveral-Brooks. This is the first year of Model UN at Poudre, and Piveral-Brooks’ focus is currently centered on, pretty much just building a culture [that is] open to political voices, especially like in our student body, and like creating a place where people can share their opinions about world events because I think especially right now, we’re kind of in the middle of a lot of them”. As we’re talking about how chaotic the world seems to be these days, Harper points out the “stigma” that young people care less about politics and the political scene. Unfortunately, as young people, it’s hard to be passionate about the future of politics in the United States due to the amount of conflict that surrounds governing powers worldwide. In an article titled “Gen Z Doesn’t Remember When American Politics Worked”, written by Annie Lowrey for The Atlantic, Lowrey claims, “‘These young people have come of age in a time of rising populism, declining democracy, climate catastrophe, and vicious inequality. This is a cohort that has never felt stable or secure, personally, financially, or physically,” John Della Volpe, the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, told me. The current inflation crisis follows a pandemic-induced recession, which ended a sluggish, unequal expansion, which came after the worst recession since the Great Depression. Today’s young adults ‘are the first generation in American history to be worse off than their parents,’ said Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, the executive director of NextGen America, a youth voting-rights organization,”. We are painfully aware of friction all around the globe, including the conflict in Ukraine and the hunger crisis that exists both globally and locally in our very own community. Although knowing exactly how to make real change and truly make a difference may be difficult, it is vital to pay attention to issues like these if the young people in today’s society wish to prosper. The Administration and Cost of Elections Project (ACE), an organization created in 1998 by the United Nations states, “.…people under the age of 35 are rarely found in parliaments, public administration, and decision-making bodies such as committees on peacebuilding and constitution building. In one-third of countries, eligibility for the national parliament starts at 25 years,”. If young people aren't getting actively involved or engaged in politics, their voice in society is greatly decreased which is dangerous both because our voices and needs may not be heard, and also because we are the future of this planet. Not being involved in these current issues may lower the chance of change which is vital for building strong societies that are able to maintain peace while still consistently developing to aid younger generations and tend to their specific and growing needs.

According to Piveral-Brooks, Model UN gives that space “to prove that stigma wrong [and show people that youth can and do care about current events] and also.. to create new ideas and get people excited about politics,” as well as providing a place for young people to simply just talk about it, Arlen Croak, another member of Model UN points out. Talking about politics and current issues is especially important right now because of lower rates of voter registration and turnout among younger generations. “Fewer than half of Americans 18 to 29 voted in the 2016 presidential election — a gap of more than 15 points compared with the overall turnout,”(Symonds). In order to increase interest, it’s important to increase education around these issues and have safe encouraging spaces to talk about it.

Model UN is an academic club that greatly encourages youth to think about issues globally, and create discussions about diplomacy and current world issues. It also requires a lot of public speaking, writing stuff that would be seen constitutionally, and writing governmental declarations in the proper diplomatic procedure. Not only do these activities look good on college applications, but these skills are also really useful whether you plan to go into a profession that relates to politics, or not. The president of Model UN, Harper Piveral-Brooks has had an interest in politics from a young age, and, all the stuff that I've learned [has been] really interesting and important for my future career,”.

Even if you’re a Poudre High School student who isn’t interested in that sort of profession but want to just learn more about the world and how it works, there should be something for everyone. Mr. Condon claims that there are parts of Model UN that are really structured, like parliamentary procedure, and then there's unstructured caucuses, where they have to work around and kind of find consensus and build, coalitions and things like that. All of which are great skills no matter [where or what] they go you know into the world to do but also just to be thinking about the world,[and] how to make the world a better place… this is a place to practice that,”. Not only is the research and learning aspect useful, but a member of Model UN, Arlen Croak claims that “It's really fun.” Croak was assigned to the United Arab Emirates, and although he has had to research and learn about them extensively, and has had to write a lot academically, he claims that it’s a really good time as well as extremely educational. Both Piveral-Brooks and Croak are set to graduate this year, and Piveral-Brooks has hope that “someone will take over and it will become a real pillar of our community,”. Because of the incredible skills that this club helps to develop, Model UN is truly an important opportunity at this school.

As of now, Poudre High School’s Model UN has 7 countries represented currently and hopes to be able to represent more. The first official competition that the team will attend is scheduled for January, but there’s a possibility that they will be able to meet and compete before that date. If you are interested in participating and joining you are encouraged to check it out! Anyone in grades 9 through 12 that is interested in Model UN can join. If you are interested in joining or would like more information about this awesome club, feel free to contact Mr. Condon, the staff sponsor of the club at bcondon@psdschools.org, or drop by one of their meetings in room 209 on Thursdays at lunch.


Elizabeth Bentley is a senior at Poudre High School, and this is her first year at the Poudre Press. She writes The Occhiolism Operation, a movie review blog that you can check out here!


Works Cited

“The importance of youth participation in formal political processes —.” ACE Electoral Knowledge Network —, https://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/yt/yt10/yt210/the-importance-of-youth-participation-in-formal. Accessed 4 November 2022.

Lowrey, Annie. “Gen Z Doesn’t Remember When American Politics Worked.” The Atlantic, 14 August 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/progressive-gen-z-politics-voting/671130/. Accessed 4 November 2022.

“Model UN – UNA-USA.” UNA-USA, https://unausa.org/model-un/. Accessed 20 October 2022.

Nations, United. United Nations | Peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet, https://www.un.org/en/. Accessed 30 October 2022.

Symonds, Alexandria. “Why Don’t Young People Vote?” The New York Times, 8 October 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/08/upshot/youth-voting-2020-election.html. Accessed 4 November 2022.






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