Model United Nations Session Examines Children's Rights

Posted by Mark Schlachter
June 3, 2009
Model UN Session With Mark Schlachter

About the Author: Mark Schlachter serves as Public Diplomacy Chief for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of serving as the Secretary-General of the fifth-grade Model United Nations of Cold Spring Elementary from Potomac, Maryland. Tuesday’s special session of the Model Security Council was based on the most recent meeting of the actual United Nations Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), in which they discussed the Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC.

The students had been studying the United Nations and issues surrounding children’s rights, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Their overall objective was to understand the many issues facing children around the world and how the UN works to protect their rights.

The roughly 50 students broke into groups representing each of the 15 Security Council members and developed speeches to deliver during our mock Security Council special session. There were many impassioned pleas for children’s rights. Speaking second, the esteemed Permanent Representative of the Model Delegation from Austria set the tone for the discussion, demanding, “We must keep children safe by building walls against these dangers.”

The Model Japanese delegation raised the issue of using children to clear minefields, while the American delegation discussed child access to health care. The Ugandan delegation recognized the continuing problem of the recruitment of child soldiers in their own country, and requested assistance in curbing it. Speaking last, the Model Ambassador from Turkey, who served as the rotating president of the Council, reminded everyone that we came here “to talk about the next generation—our children,” and implored all parties to do everything possible to curb the injustices perpetrated against our most vulnerable population in areas of conflict.

It was an educating experience for everyone involved, including those of us who have worked with the real Security Council. Prior to the session, the din of discussions and negotiation of text sounded all too familiar, if, perhaps, a little higher pitched.

Comments

Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 6, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Mark, What I'd like to know is have these kids found the solutions to the world's problems yet?

Alex
|
Maryland, USA
June 14, 2009

Alex in Maryland writes:

Thanks! I was in Austria, and I just wanted to say, I had a great time.

Rebecca
|
Arizona, USA
June 21, 2009

Rebecca in Arizona writes:

I think this is amazing, and I am so glad to see that children are learning about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is one of the most important UN Conventions ever, and I hope that the United States will accept responsibility and ratify it soon. I went to law school specifically to help children obtain more rights in the legal processes that affect them, and I wrote my Student Note on the Convention. Thank you for sharing how children are also learning about it.

Allison P.
July 15, 2009

Allison P. writes:

I would highly recommend this comprehensive program for any teacher looking to enhance a study of the United Nations. Mark and his remarkable team offered a fun-filled, kid-centered, and relevant experience in a truly authentic environment. This activity could have easily been used as a culminating activity for our unit on children's rights but instead we returned to school and continued to build upon the foundation it provided. In our own Model UN simulation, we researched individual countries of choice, presented position papers focusing on children's rights, and debated in a smaller committee format. My sincere thanks to Captain Supremo and his team of heroes for a most memorable day of meaningful learning at the State Department.

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