The 6th Annual Lyceum Middle School Model United Nations Conference will take place Saturday, May 7th at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). Model United Nations (MUN) is a simulation of the “real-life” United Nations. Students act as ambassadors from various countries around the world, and debate topics that are relevant to current global affairs.
In order to facilitate the presence of home school students at the event, Julie Frandsen-Horner recruited 8 home schoolers to attend a weekly MUN course. The students, grades 5th through 8th, are welcomed to the Lyceum by Julie, the Lyceum family and the co-facilitators for two hours each Wednesday afternoon. Julie, a speech language pathologist by trade, has been homeschooling her daughter (also a participant) for 10 years. She finds MUN to be a perfect activity for home school students because its a strategic and fun avenue for teaching social studies, geography and the news.
Though this year is Julie's first time leading an MUN course, her expertise and vibrant spirit makes her a natural at it. She allocates a minimum of two hours a week for research while the co-facilitators (MIIS graduate students Monique and Stephen) offer their guidance and experience. On the first day, it was clear that Julie and Monique were not the only ones who had devoted previous time to preparing; in hearing the students actively participating it was clear they had done some research as well.
The course cycle began with meet & greets, expectations, ice breakers and an introduction to what the United Nations (UN) is. During their first day, most of the students reluctantly mentioned they joined the course because their moms wanted them to (go moms!). However, Julie hopes to witness the students eager to participate the following year from their own free will because of how exciting the conference is. Afterwards, a UN history was presented with an emphasis on peace.
By day two, the students fiercely raised their hands with the undeniable wish to be called upon. In addition to reviewing world geography, being assigned countries and debate topics, and obtaining a moderate understanding of the UN, the students are also practicing public speaking. Each student has been assigned a country and one of three UN committees: General Assembly, Security Council, or Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). While the General Assembly encompasses all countries, the Security Council has five permanent member countries and ten rotating countries, while ECOSOC has a similar smaller list of rotating countries. The students will spend the remainder of the weeks in class focused on their council, country and topic.
But MUN doesn't end on May 7th for this inspired and ambitious group. The Wednesday after the conference they will be gathering for one final class to debrief and celebrate. With all this said, we would like to thank Julie for her enormous amount of effort, commitment and enthusiasm. Furthermore the Lyceum would like to thank the MIIS graduate students Monique Rao (studying International Policy and Development), Stephen Doolittle (studying Public Administration), and Brendan Tarnay (studying Migration and Conflict Resolution) for their help, support and assistance in ensuring the success of these classes. We would like to thank the parents for enrolling and supporting their children, and lastly we would like to thank the students for their evolving passion and glorious engagement.