MUSCATINE, Iowa–As young adults start following the news more closely and learning about the biggest challenges that face the world today, they often wonder what it will take to find solutions for them. Fortunately, students at Muscatine High School and numerous schools across the county can participate in Model UN to explore these issues and develop problem solving skills along with other people their age. By working with the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, Muscatine High School’s Model UN club has the opportunity to prepare for and attend several conferences. Their first, the Iowa Youth Symposium, took place in Des Moines Nov. 2 and 3.
At this year’s Iowa Youth Symposium, students could choose to work on policy in one of four areas, refugees, privacy, food sustainability, and the United Nations Security Council. Tyler Lucas, a senior who has participated in Model UN for three years, decided to learn more about how the United Nations Security Council addresses issues such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He shared: “Des Moines is two days, and in two days we passed over 50 amendments in the Iowa Capital House Chambers. Many of these amendments added new countries to the security council, and some of them clarified what the security council does and how it operates.”
Junior Trey Ulses, who has done Model UN for the past three years, chose to look into refugee policy. He elaborated: “this year at the Iowa Youth Symposium, in my committees, we were assigned the problem of economic aid for refugees. So, what we did was lay out important background information on what has been done in the past and what is currently being done about it.”
An opportunity to learn from experts and other students, debate important world issues, and practice reaching resolutions with people with different points of view, Model UN’s advisor, Aaron Smith, considered the Iowa Youth Symposium beneficial for all the students who attended. “The Youth Symposium consistently puts on two great days of sessions for students to discuss solutions to modern problems,” he observed. “The Symposium brought in excellent guest speakers that helped foster the discussion of our students during their committee meetings.”
The students themselves found the Youth Symposium both informative and enjoyable as well. Trey shared, “the thing I enjoyed most about the conference was meeting people from all around the state of Iowa.”
Tyler added: “I will forever remember going up to their group and shaking hands after a long discussion on how to end our feud. Hours and hours of eye-daggers and whispering aimed our way had ended, and with the help of a couple young minds. Reaching across the aisle is possible, and it’s actually quite easy.”
Following the Iowa Youth Symposium, Model UN will attend three additional conferences in Waterloo, Chicago, and New York. They also plan to send members to the Begin With Me youth event taking place in December as well as volunteering with the Summer Program for Arts, Recreation, and Knowledge, or S. P. A. R. K.
With so many opportunities available to club members, both Trey and Tyler hope more students will consider giving it a try.
“I would encourage others to join Model UN because it is a great way to learn debate skills and does not look too bad on a college application,” said Trey.
Lucas also shared, “It is not only a way to outlet political questions, but also a way for young minds also interested in what’s happening to come together.”