March 8, 2013

Students embrace Harvard Model U.N. experience

PLATTSBURGH — Of all the extracurricular activities that Minh Coryer participates in at Beekmantown High School, Harvard Model United Nations has affected him the most.

“It’s ridiculously enlightening,” the 12th-grader said.

He has been among thousands of high-school students from around the globe who gather at Harvard University in Boston to participate in the annual four-day mock conference on international relations.

For decades, area districts, including Northeastern Clinton, Beekmantown, Peru, Saranac, Saranac Lake, Chazy and Elizabethtown-Lewis central schools, have sent groups of students to the conference, where they take on the roles of delegates representing various countries and debate global issues.

“I think it’s a source of pride for North Country schools,” Beekmantown Central Harvard Model U.N. Adviser Scott Tuller said of participating in the program.


At this year’s conference, held last month, Coryer received an honorable mention for his participation on the Economic and Financial Committee of 2015 — he represented Montenegro in a debate on a hypothetical oil crisis set two years in the future.

For several months before the conference, he and other participants researched the policies of their assigned countries, as well as events and circumstances affecting those policies.

It gives “kids the opportunity to step out of their shoes of being an American and understand another country and world issues,” said Pete Castine, adviser to ELCS’s Harvard Model U.N. group.  

Harvard Model U.N., noted NCCS program adviser Jason Borrie, helps students develop writing, research and public-speaking skills, as well as potential solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.

“For me, what I can get from Model U.N. is a better perspective on how our generation can come together and solve the crisis that not only the U.N. has to face but other nations have to face on their own,” said Peru Central junior Thomas Gwinn.

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