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FHS Model U.N. Conference Draws Hundreds

2015 Model UN Conference6

Franklin High School Model U.N. staff advisor, Lou Guglielmo, left, poses with members of the school chapter’s executive committee before the Nov. 21 conference.


Hundreds of students “went for the gavel” Nov. 21 at the fifth annual Franklin High School Model U.N. conference.

The students came from high school from throughout the region to participate in the one-day conference seen as a practice run for the large, multi-day conferences held at colleges across the country.

The students were assigned to delegations from specific countries, which were then assigned to committees. The students were expected to have researched the position on the particular topic taken by the country they represented, and the delegate they portrayed.

Committee sessions were held in FHS classrooms and were moderated by Rutgers University students.

Students competed for awards, such as Best Delegate, the winner of which was awarded the coveted gavel.

“That’s the honor they want,” said Lou Guglielmo, the FHS Model U.N. team’s staff advisor.

Guglielmo, who has been running the school’s Model U.N. program for 22 years, said the experience leaves students with skills they’ll be able to use throughout their lives.

Being a delegate teaches kids how to be better citizens, boosts their research skills and their confidence levels, he said.

“It’s a fascinating experience,” he said.

Guglielmo said the Franklin chapter has between 125 and 130 members. The chapter attends six overnight conference a year, he said.

For Shaun Guru, a senior and president of the FHS Model U.N., the experience has helped him learn more about the world.

“Most people, when they come into high school, don’t read the news or understand why certain countries have certain policies,” he said.

The model U.N. also helps students with public speaking skills, he said.

The FHS chapter’s vice president, Jay Shah, said one of the things Model U.N. has taught him is diplomacy.

“Since we’re the future leaders of the world, I think Model U.N. has taught us how to compromise and talk to our peers in a respectful manner, wile still asserting our rights,” he said. “The key way to make it in this world is to have diplomacy and to know what to say and how to say to people.

Shah also said the friendships he has made in Model U.N. will last for years.

The Rutgers Students were members of the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, a group founded in 1991 at Rutgers. IDIA’s Michael Hinchliffe said the idea behind the Model U.N. to to provide the students with information they can use to make up their own minds on key issues.

“We’re certainly not trying to tell them how to think,” he said. “Our goal is to give them the tools.”

The Franklin conference is seen as a tune-up for the first “real” Model U.N. conference, scheduled for December at Rutgers, Guglielmo said.

“They can realize the mistakes they made here, and they can do their research for December,” he said.

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