Students experience interdisciplinary classes, visit international universities, and engage in high-level debates during four days
From February 10 through 19, students in Grades 9 through 11 embarked on an international mission to participate in the North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN), a simulation of a UN conference offered to high school students from around the world. The event took place in Washington, DC. Approximately 3,300 students and 300 teacher advisers of various nationalities attend the conference.
During the trip, students went to New York and Washington, DC to visit important tourist attractions and learn about US history. They visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Baha’i International Community’s United Nations Office. Accompanied by their teachers, Ms. Diana Bracarense and Mr. Jorge Sobrinho, students engaged in learning about US culture from an interdisciplinary, historical, and artistic perspective.
On February 16, students took part in the opening ceremony, where they had the opportunity to meet the Strategic Communications Coordinator of the National Security Council of the United States, John Kirby, and review the rules and guidelines of the conference.
For three days, they participated in committees with more than two-hundred other students. Ten students represented School of Nations on eight NAIMUN committees—the Special Political and Decolonization Committee, 1993; the United Nations Human Rights Council; The World Health Organization; the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; the International Labour Organization; the Commission on the Status of Women; JCC The Fall of Edo: The Tokugawa Shogunate; Cochabamba Water War, 1999.
Participating in conferences is highly effective in developing students’ research and argumentation skills. However, soft skills, such as negotiation, public speaking, teamwork, and emotional intelligence, are also developed in events such as these. For Carolina Soares, Grade 9, listening was the skill she most developed at the conference. As a member of the Nations MUN Club, Carolina said that being familiar with the conference’s terms and rules made a difference.
“The MUN Club helped me a lot physically and mentally. Before going on the trip, I prepared myself. I knew what I was going to talk about and what I was going to do. The club gave me essential preparation. At the conference, an important part was developing my listening and social skills. I had to interact with very different people. I worked a lot on communication. I was able to notice much more of what was happening around me, to pay attention differently to what people are saying,” said Carolina.
High School Principal, Henrick Oprea, says this trip will be the first of many.
"Events like these help students develop more complex skills than they could in a classroom environment. Trips like these allow students to understand what we advocate as a school. They learn about different cultures, customs and how to see themselves in this world. Students need to experience these interdisciplinary lessons and visit the sights with a different vision. I highly recommend that families invest in this type of learning experience. The growth and maturity students gain (personal, social, and academic) certainly justify the investment."
Ana Luz Martins, Grade 10, said the trip awakened an even greater interest in pursuing a career as a diplomat. Ana is interested in studying International Relations. She says that although she was already familiar with the rules and terms of the conference, she was able to improve her skills and build new learning experiences.
“The experience was much better than I had expected. Integrating what we are learning in classes with tourism was amazing! Visiting and getting to know different universities and important institutions like the UNESCO headquarters gave me a different perspective on diplomacy and international relations. It made a difference to me to visit these places and realize there is a world full of opportunities!”