The day began with a keynote discussion by Jan Fischer, who held a number of positions at the UN, including spokesperson for the president of the UN General Assembly.
In addition to sharing personal anecdotes from his time at the intergovernmental organization, Fischer discussed various aspects of its work, including what it does, why countries join it, and its role in promoting multilateralism. Director of Global and Civic Exchange Rob Fish and upper school history teacher Eric Shapiro said that Fischer highlighted the important role the UN plays in some of the most complex and difficult problems that exist in the world: “He explained that if nations can solve problems on their own through bilateral or multilateral dialogue, they often will never bring these problems to the UN, so the UN is faced with the most challenging conflicts that exist in the world.” Fish and Shapiro hope that the students left the conversation with a deeper understanding of how important it is for countries to work together to solve problems and how essential strong interpersonal relationships are to accomplishing that goal.
For the remainder of the day, the sophomores focused on the committee topics that they will study over the next month, including climate change, human rights, humanitarian crises, migration and the Middle East. They practiced debating using parliamentary procedure and spent time researching their countries and its policies, practices and interests as related to their topic.
The students will apply what they learned Monday and what they will continue to learn over the next month during the Model UN day on Monday, March 2, a daylong intensive during which students participate in and learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations.