Posted by Sharon Schendel on Apr 09, 2018
Delegates to the 2018 Model UN Conference
Kevin Kennedy, U.N. Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian Crisis, was the Keynote Speaker
The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peach & Justice at University of San Diego was the site for the 14th annual Rotary District 5340 Model United Nations Conference on April 7 and 8, 2018.  This year Rotary Club of Del Mar sponsored four teams to debate two topics: 1) Whether Palestine should be admitted to the United Nations; and 2) Strategies to protect oceans by reducing plastic waste. Daisy Waters (Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) Interact President) and Delaney Jacobs (TPHS Interact Treasurer) represented Guatemala. Eilee Shahidi (Canyon Crest Academy) and Hannah Newville (TPHS) were the team for Iran and Alexei Serguienko and Arda Ulug (both TPHS) represented Iraq. Mollie Waters and Taylor Newville (both TPHS) were delegates for the United Kingdom.  Club President Klaus Gubernator was the advisor for the Guatemala and Iraq team, while Scott MacDonald and Dan Smargon advised the United Kingdom and Iran teams, respectively. 
Up until this year Rotary District 5340 was the only District to have a Model UN Conference. This year Rotarians in Eugene, Oregon held an inaugural Model UN Conference patterned after the District 5340 program.
Participants in Model UN begin background research on their country during January and early February and also undergo training in analytical and negotiating skills. With support from their advisor, the teams draft their country’s position on the resolution and gather support for their position in the form of empirical data, statements from leaders, and research articles. During March they compile their speeches stating their position on the resolution and what changes they recommend.
During the two-day Conference, the student delegates present their prepared speeches to the General Assembly. On Saturday the teams broke into smaller caucus groups to form alliances as well as discus and draft amendments to resolutions. On Saturday evening the students enjoyed a banquet at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley where Kevin Kennedy, immediate past U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syrian Crisis, gave the keynote address.  On Sunday, the student delegates presented and debated each caucus group’s amendments to the resolutions, followed by a final vote on the amendments to the resolutions.
Through their participation in Model UN students learn strategies for peaceful conflict resolution and negotiating skills and also have the opportunity to develop critical and analytical thinking skills and craft oral presentation techniques.