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April 26, 2016

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Students from 21 Midwestern high schools gathered at Johnson County Community College April 13 to solve world problems.

As part of the annual Metro Kansas City Model United Nations conference, 275 delegates from grades 7 to 12 represented countries around the world. They discussed resolutions, met in committees and generally performed the same tasks as a representative to the “real” United Nations might accomplish.

JCCC President Joe Sopcich addressed the assemblage and thanked them for their interest in global foreign policy and noted how skills learned through their participation in Model UN will benefit their career and professional pursuits. Then the students set to work.

Model United Nations is a competition where delegates are judged on several key criteria, including:

  • Remaining in character. Students must advocate as their assigned country’s position in a manner consistent with economic, social and geopolitical constraints.
  • Participating in committee. Students are evaluated both during formal and informal sessions.
  • Proper use of the rules of procedure. Students learn the rules of procedure to facilitate effective debate.

Brody Burnett, a student at Fayetteville (Arkansas) High School, served as Secretary General. He said participation in Model United Nations offers students numerous leadership and learning opportunities, in addition to the opportunity for students to experience many different political and cultural viewpoints.

Kate Pendergast, a student at Notre Dame de Scion, Kansas City, Missouri, said Model UN teaches problem-solving skills.

“It is very educational to be able to become well versed in these issues, world issues. And it teaches you to work with other people, to collaborate in order to solve these world problems,” she said.

Her classmate, Olivia Dy, commented on MKCMUN’s ability to open her eyes to new cultures and new perspectives. “Being in Kansas City, we have a lot of cultures here, but we don’t necessarily learn about all aspects of the problems that exist within these cultures…[MKCMUN] kind of gives more of an insider perspective.”

Dr. Brian Wright, a professor of political science and coach of the JCCC Model United Nations team, organizes the conference every year. JCCC Model United Nation students volunteer to staff MKCMUN and to handle a large range of responsibilities.

The results of the 2016 MKCMUN conference were (in alphabetical order):

  • Bentonville (Arkansas) High School: Five awards, including Overall Outstanding Delegation.
  • Blue Valley High School: Outstanding Delegation (General Assembly Third Committee) and Honorable Mention (Indigenous Forum).
  • Blue Valley Northwest: Outstanding Delegation (Security Council).
  • Blue Valley West: Five awards, including Overall Outstanding Delegation.
  • Battle High School, Columbia, Missouri: Two Outstanding Position Paper awards and Honorable Mention (Indigenous Forum).
  • Fayetteville (Arkansas) High School: Four awards, including three General Assembly awards and an Outstanding Position Paper award.
  • Fort Leavenworth High School: Honorable Mention (General Assembly Third Committee).
  • Patton-Fort Junior High School, Leavenworth, Kansas: Outstanding Position Paper award.
  • Liberty (Missouri) North High School: 16 awards, including two Overall Outstanding Delegation awards.
  • Louisburg (Kansas) High School: Outstanding Position Paper award.
  • Notre Dame de Sion High School: Five awards, including three Outstanding Position Paper awards, Honorable Mention (General Assembly First Committee) and Honorable Mention (Security Council).
  • Pembroke Hill High School, Kansas City, Missouri: Outstanding Position Paper award and Honorable Mention (Security Council). 
  • Rockhurst High School, Kansas City, Missouri: Five awards, including two Outstanding Position Paper awards, Outstanding Delegation (Indigenous Forum), Distinguished Delegation (Indigenous Forum), and Distinguished Delegation (Security Council).
  • Shawnee Mission West High School: Honorable Mention (General Assembly Second Committee).
  • Sumner Academy, Kansas City, Kansas: Two Outstanding Position Paper awards and Distinguished Delegation (General Assembly First Committee).
  • Sunrise Christian Academy, Topeka, Kansas: Outstanding Position Paper award.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Overland Park: Distinguished Delegation (General Assembly Third Committee).