Life skills honed at UCC-hosted Ontario Model UN Conference

Upper Canada College welcomed 29 teams to its fourth annual Ontario Model United Nations (OMUN) Conference on April 6 and 7.
The two-day conference for middle school and high school students is the result of a merger of two previous UCC-hosted events: UCC Model United Nations, which ran for six years; and Ontario Model Parliament, which ran for 30 years.
 
Model UN is a form of debating in which students participate in simulations of the UN and other regulatory bodies. Students act as ambassadors or delegates who debate current affairs and negotiate solutions to local and global problems.
 
Simulations at this year’s OMUN Conference included Disarmament and International Security Committee, International Criminal Police Organization, UN Security Council, International Civil Aviation Organization, National Hockey League, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and UN Environment Programme.
 
Model UN is an interdisciplinary activity linked to many elements of both the Ontario and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Students use the knowledge and skills learned in history, economics, civics, English, geography, and environmental studies courses while participating.  
 
Students also learn a number of valuable life skills through Model UN, such as public speaking, researching and lobbying, and they increase their knowledge of global affairs. Model UN is competitive, with top delegates being awarded prizes for their performance.
 
This year’s OMUN organizing committee of 30 UCC students was led by co-secretary generals Gaurav Dogra and Shaan Hooey. UCC IB economics coordinator and Model UN Club adviser Matt Griem was the OMUN Conference adviser.
 
“It takes a year to plan OMUN,” says Griem. “We start planning OMUN about two or three weeks after the last one ends.”
 
UCC’s Model UN team was named best delegation at McGill University’s Secondary Schools Model UN Symposium and attended Harvard University’s Model UN competition during this school year. While the College had 29 delegates take part in the OMUN Conference, UCC didn’t compete for the best delegation trophy.
 
“It looks a bit awkward for the host to win,” says Griem.
 
OMUN’s keynote speaker was MPP and former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne.
 
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