By: Victor Llanque, US History and Global Studies
After a long journey from CT, GFA’s Model UN students arrived in Berlin on Wednesday to join 700 other high school students from around the world in a four-day long conference that simulates the United Nations.
The opening ceremony took place in the headquarters of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, an international foundation that helps foster democracy and development around the world. The keynote speaker was Professor Thomas Schildauer, a media expert who discussed the role of social networks in international affairs and business.
Following the keynote address, Michael Shepard ’12 gave a speech on behalf of the delegation of Greece. Exuding confidence, Michael walked to the podium with his speech in hand and then proceeded to throw it away on the floor for added dramatic effect. “I had prepared a speech”, he said, “but it is useless now that you have brushed off Greece.” After he grabbed everyone’s attention, Michael delivered one of the most memorable speeches of the day.
On Thursday, the debates and plenary sessions began in full swing. Our team is representing Greece in five committees. Kyja Kutnick ’12 is working in the Human Rights Committee, which is focusing on reviewing the status of refugees in a globalized world. Annie Flecha-Hirsch ’12 joined the Political Committee which is exploring the role of the media as a means to combat the dangers of political indoctrination and intolerance. Mike Shepard ’12 is in the Environmental Committee, which will attempt to assess the environmental impact of the production, use and disposal of media devices. As a member of the Disarmament Committee, Ryan Eckert ’12 is working to find ways to curtail cyber warfare attacks and to disarm paramilitary groups in Southern Asia. Lastly, Sammy Marcus ’12 has joined a Special Conference on Media Without Boundaries, which focuses on establishing standards for data protection and privacy and copyrights laws.
After a long day of discussions, debates, and writing resolutions, we managed to squeeze in some time to visit the Reichstag and a section of the Berlin Wall. Stay tuned for more pictures to come in the next few days.