Last year the Academy was, unfortunately, cancelled due to COVID. However, this year the Academy was finally able to come to fruition, educating high school and incoming first-year college students about Model United Nations.
Dr. Haynes and I chose an intriguing topic for the students to wrap their minds around: child soldiers in conflict zones. We were privileged to have experienced guest lecturers, including former Ambassadors, taking part in Zoom sessions to teach the students about the scope of this issue.
Throughout the Academy, Dr. Haynes and I endeavored to help students further develop skills that are both necessary in Model United Nations and in life. The high school students who took the initiative and participated in the 2021 Model United Nations Summer Academy certainly are a step ahead of their peers.
As a full-time college student, becoming a co-coordinator for this program helped expand my perspective on what it is like to be a teacher. It was incredible to watch the students grow and enhance their life skills and Model United Nations knowledge throughout the week.
By the end of the week, the students’ abilities even rivaled some college students. To watch their proficiency flourish under the direction we provided was incredible. It was a true testament of what the Model United Nations program does at the University of New Haven.
‘I would highly recommend the program’
Several of the students who took part in the program, which was held virtually this summer, reflected on their experiences in the program, on what they learned, and on what they enjoyed the most.
“I would like to thank Dr. Haynes and Michael Castro for providing us with an opportunity to participate in a summer program that was engaging and fun, and that gave us a great perspective of how the United Nations works in the real world,” wrote Jennifer A. “I learned so many important skills. This program helped improve my writing, public speaking, time management, and debating skills, and, most of all, it helped improve my confidence. I feel much more confident being able to write a paper in a timed setting.”
“I joined the academy with the goal of learning more about the UN and improving my communication skills,” wrote Jas D. “In listening to our guest speakers and through all the simulations we have done, I am pleased to say that I have picked up quite a bit. The speakers were very informative, and by writing working papers I learned quite a bit. The final simulation was also quite fun and a good test of the skills we learned over the week.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the Model United Nations Summer Academy at University of New Haven,” wrote Taylor P. “Coming out of it I felt like I really improved at international diplomacy and at writing working papers, despite the fact that I only spent five days at the summer academy. It was challenging enough that I felt like I was able to make a significant improvement in my international skills, but it was also fun and interesting, rather than stressful and difficult. I would highly recommend the program to students looking at a career in international diplomacy/development.”
Michael Castro ’22 is a national security major at the University of New Haven who is pursuing minors in criminal justice and political science. He served as Model United Nations Academy’s co-coordinator for recruitment and outreach.