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Future diplomats participate in Model U.N. conference

by: PHOTO COURTESY: NCSD - Fourteen students from Rex Putnam and a dozen from Clackamas High School attended the state Model United Nations conference at the University of Oregon.Fourteen students from Rex Putnam and a dozen from Clackamas High School joined nearly 14,000 teens from across Oregon at the state Model United Nations conference at the University of Oregon earlier this month.

Model U.N. is an authentic simulation of the U.N. General Assembly, with students playing the roles of ambassadors and committee representatives from nations across the globe. The event is led and organized by high school students, who dress for the event in business attire. It includes a crisis simulation, with each committee asked to resolve an urgent situation.

This year Rex Putnam represented Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of social studies teacher Josh Alper. Clackamas High represented Norway, led by study hall instructor Dana Breaux.

In preparation for the conference, each club spent the school year learning about the politics, economics, national defense and social issues of the nation they represent, studying global issues from that nation’s perspective. Each student had to prepare and defend two issue papers on different topics, ranging from international relations to environmental issues to health and human rights.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to participate in such a diverse organization,” Alper said. “Many of the kids who attend come from ethnic groups that are less visible in our school district. Students of Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian heritage are well represented.”

“The most powerful moment was when our General Assembly placed an outright ban on weapons of mass destruction,” said Rex Putnam senior Zane Robinette. A four-time conference attendee, he plans to study political science at Oregon State next fall.

The event’s keynote speaker was Dr. Bruce Allyn, a native of Grants Pass, who is the former director of the Harvard-Soviet Joint Study on Crisis Prevention and the author of “The Edge of Armageddon: Lessons from the Brink.” He urged students to be Heroes for Nonviolence, following the example of Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.



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