Students Turned Diplomats: CCHS Competes at Georgia Tech Model UN Conference


Photo courtesy of Shrika Madivanan.

Chamblee’s Model UN team poses after a successful conference at Georgia Tech.

Catherine Cossaboom, Editor

The world of politics can seem complicated, but some of Chamblee’s students have it down-pat. On October 12 and 13, Chamblee’s Model UN team attended the Georgia Tech Model UN (GTMUN) conference at the Scheller College of Business, participating in committees, writing resolutions and role playing as delegates of their assigned countries, Italy and the Dominican Republic. About fifteen students – mostly seniors and juniors – attended from CCHS, along with many other schools from around the state. 

Sponsor and English teacher Andriano describes Model UN as an outlet for students to explore global issues.

“[The students] are given a different country that they represent, and they’re set up in different committees,” said Andriano. “They’re able to talk about different global crises like the environment and war. This year’s focus was water conservation. Then, they make resolutions and vote, just like the regular UN in New York.”

President Shrika Madivanan’s idea to found a Model UN club at the school stemmed from her passion for social studies. 

“I helped found Model UN. It was there many years prior to us coming, and I wanted to join it but it didn’t exist,” said Madivanan. “In the future, [one of my dreams] would be to work in the United Nations.” 

To succeed in a Model UN conference, students have to do more than just show up. 

“You prepare in advance for the conference by writing something called a position paper, which basically just explains your country’s stance on topics that you’ve been assigned. Usually there are two [topics],” said junior and member Sam Grant. “Once you’ve done your research and you’ve got your position paper ready, you should be prepared to go to the conference.”

Junior Amy Lin, who is Model UN’s treasurer, explains that Model UN committees involve Chamblee’s students coming together with other schools to pass resolutions. 

“[For] most committees… you go in there alone and you write a position paper so you know about the topic, and then you try to write and pass resolutions on your topics,” said Lin. “One of our topics was water insecurity, so we had to find different ways to solve water insecurity with multiple plans, and then there’s multiple resolutions and the whole committee votes on them.”

A resolution is a statement of what the delegation wants the UN to consider, and it often involves careful negotiation and diplomacy. 

“You’re going to try to find people who have similar stances to your country. In this case when I was the Dominican Republic, I made an alliance with other island nations like Cyprus and Australia,” said Grant. “Once you’re in the conference, you’re going to try to write a resolution [with the countries in your committee].”

GTMUN’s focus was on water, specifically dealing with water-related environmental disasters.

“The first [topic] was developing effective response and covering measures for droughts in the future and the second one was mitigating the impact of climate change on water sources,” said Grant.

Throughout the conference, your performance is assessed and compiled into a grade which determines awards.

“It’s actually a competition,” said Andriano. “[Participants] get graded on their position papers that they have to write, how many resolutions they try and pass, and how much they try to work with other countries to get things done, and they give out awards at the end.” 

Model UN has a lot further to go. Members are currently trying to raise money to attend National High School Model UN in New York City. 

“Right now, we’re trying to raise funds for an actual conference in New York, where we would go and do Model UN in the United Nations headquarters and actually have the chance to meet with certain representatives from the countries that we are going to be portraying,” said Grant.

They do, however, have a backup fund if fundraising falls through.

“It’s not inexpensive to go, so we’ve got a lot of fundraising things going on, but if we aren’t able to raise all the funds for that, we will go to the UGA Model UN, which is also a really big conference,” said Andriano.  

Model UN is starting a fundraising campaign. One of their events, a showing of Monster House, occurred on Friday, October 25 in Andriano’s room.

“We’re doing bake sales this week and we have a movie fundraiser this Friday for Monster House, and we’ve been calling businesses to ask them to sponsor and putting their names on the back of our shirt,” said Madivanan.