Yale to host 40th session of Model United Nations

Nearly 1,700 high school students from around the world will converge on the Yale campus for the 40th session of Yale Model United Nations (YMUN XL), to be held Jan. 23–26.

YMUN is one of the most prestigious academic simulations of the United Nations in the world. Its mission is to provide educational and international experience to future leaders from high schools around the globe by bringing them to Yale’s campus to debate issues and address challenges facing the world today.

YMUN is one of only a few conferences that takes place on a college campus, in college classrooms, all while classes are in session. It is also the only conference that provides financial aid packages to delegates on the high school Model United Nations circuit.

“Think Globally, Act Locally” is the theme of this year’s conference. “The very basis of Model U.N. is thinking globally, as each student is assigned a country and has to face these immense global issues that one country can’t tackle alone, no matter how powerful or how regionally positioned it is,” notes Adam Gerard ’17, assistant secretary general of outreach for YMUN XL. “We hope that YMUN XL will empower the students to go back into their communities at home and develop the kind of changes they see are possible at the Model United Nations, only on a smaller scale. We really take that opportunity to heart because we think it’s our responsibility as YMUN organizers to equip the students with these kind of skills and abilities.”

YMUN XL will offer highly motivated students a chance to explore international relations through the Global Exchange, a selective program during the conference modeled after the Yale Grand Strategy Program. The Global Exchange program aims to help delegates grapple with major issues and fundamental leadership questions that they will face as the next generation of leaders. In line with YMUN XL’s 2014 theme, the Global Exchange program will focus on the “Rights and Responsibilities of Global Citizens,” with participants seeking creative solutions that empower the local population to help solve global issues. During Yale Day on Friday, Jan. 24, delegates chosen for the Global Exchange program will have a chance to work closely with Yale faculty members in lectures, seminars, and a town hall-style debate. They will also be invited to a lunch with the program’s professors.

“The Global Exchange program is a new opportunity for a delegate to see Yale more intimately. The student will have the chance to see the possibilities that Yale can provide as a student here, as well as a Model U.N. delegate,” says Linda Oh ’17, who also serves as assistant secretary general of outreach.

This year, YMUN XL is partnering with the microcredit, non-profit organization Kiva. Each committee will be assigned a different Kiva project to fund. “We are going to assign each delegate a project that is similar to the topic that they are working with during the Model U.N. conference, so they will know intimately the problems of that topic and can also relate to the people who we are trying to help,” says Oh, adding, “It’s another way we are trying to spread the idea of thinking globally and acting locally.”

For the second year, YMUN XL has expanded its financial aid through the Breaking Boundaries Award, a merit-based scholarship that covers all expenses to attend the conference. The Breaking Boundaries Award makes funds available to high school students from the United States who may not otherwise have the monetary resources to attend the conference.

For more information about YMUN XL, visit the website.