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Fostering International Awareness in Young People

Fostering International Awareness in Young People

“We hope delegates leave the conference having a greater awareness of global issues, equipped with the tools and motivation to make a difference.”

That is how the University of Connecticut Model United Nations group describes the ultimate goal of its learning conference, held last weekend for hundreds of high school students. And if the delegates from Canterbury School are any indication, mission accomplished!

Six Saints—Eliza Agredano ’24, Serena Bacetti ’26, Gabriel Bradshaw ’24, Patrice Masterson ’25, William Van Vranken ’27, and YingHua “Wendy” Wu ’24—attended the three-day Model UN conference on the UConn campus to participate in realistic committee simulations, engage in substantive debate, and learn from fellow delegates. And they each played very different roles:

  • Eliza and Wendy represented multiple countries in the Council on Women.

  • Will (Somalia) and Gabe (Mexico) were in UNICEF dealing with child labor in the world.

  • Patrice was France on the UN Security Council dealing with the Bosnian genocide.

  • Serena was in Ad Hoc, which meant she only knew her role and topic once she arrived. She ended up being Julius Caesar during a Roman civil war.

History and Social Sciences Teacher Stephen Hewston, who serves as the Faculty Advisor for Canterbury’s Model UN Club, delighted in watching his outstanding delegates in action. “I love seeing the students go to practice conferences like this one,” he said. “They enjoy themselves and really lean into their positions while learning a lot about leadership, confidence, and research.”

Eliza, the Model UN Club President, appreciated the sense of community and was pleased with how her teammates stepped up during the three days. “The goal is always to try your best, learn something new, and have fun,” she said. “Serena took the bravest step out of all of us by becoming the first Canterbury delegate to try an Ad Hoc committee. She did an amazing job amidst that chaos and is now well-versed in training future Ad Hoc delegates. We are truly a congenial team that at every moment encourages and uplifts each other.”

By the end of the weekend, the team collaborated with peers; practiced their negotiation and debate skills; served as active, compassionate leaders; and made new friends—the ideal formula for a perfect learning experience.