Club members build Model UN legacy

Student delegates grow communication skills, prepare for conferences

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Presenting to members of Model UN, president of the club, sophomore Anisha Mandem teaches about conferences. The group held this first meeting of the year Aug. 29. “I started Model UN because I’ve always had an interest in world affairs and political issues,” Mandem said. “And, I thought it would be fun to get other students who were also interested in the same issues in a club together.”

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Because they shared an interest in the interactions and affairs of  countries around the globe, students gathered at the University of Oxford more than 100 years ago to simulate a meeting between the world’s nations. Now, that first event continues to inspire others, including members of Prosper High School’s Model United Nations Club, which held its first meeting Aug. 29.

While the club’s president presents, members of Model UN watch and discuss world affairs and political issues. The officers used this meeting to teach and practice for conferences. “We have a topic and a bit of time to brainstorm what to say in the perspective of the country we represent,” sophomore Aravind Juvva said. “Then, we discuss possible solutions and come to a final solution.” (Jake Radcliffe)

Model UN, an international organization, allows students to experience what it would be like to be in an actual United Nations meeting. Sophomore Anisha Mandem and English teacher Emily Koonce started Prosper’s chapter in the 2021-2022 school year. The group holds meetings every Monday after school in room 1233.

Mandem expressed enthusiasm as she looked back at her decision to start a local chapter.

“I started Model UN because I’ve always had an interest for world affairs and political issues,” Mandem said. “I thought it would be fun to get other students who were also interested in the same issues in a club together, so they could have the opportunity to go to conferences and compete and learn more about these different countries.”

Members of the club attend and compete in Model UN conferences with other chapters.

“There are small conferences just in the district,” Mandem said. “The state ones and even national ones are much bigger. Usually, it’s a meeting of various different schools, and all the students – the delegates. They come together and propose different topics, each representing a certain country from the United Nations and its values.”

Most meetings help members practice for the conferences.

I started Model UN because I’ve always had an interest for world affairs and political issues. I thought it would be fun to get other students who were also interested in the same issues in a club together, so they could have the opportunity to go to conferences and compete and learn more about these different countries.”

— Anisha Mandem, Model UN president

“We have a topic and a bit of time to brainstorm what to say in the perspective of the country we represent,” sophomore Aravind Juvva said. “Then, we discuss possible solutions and come to a final solution.”

The chapter’s officers said their aim, while they are still figuring out the best way to run meetings, involves making communication between members of the group more efficient.

“I feel like officers could talk to members more in advance, rather than members finding out information the day of a meeting,” said sophomore Adithya Garneni, the club’s vice president. “Information like conference dates, meeting dates, what’s going on at the meetings. I think it could all be more streamlined.”

Both Mandem and Garneni participated in Model UN at their respective middle schools.

“At my old school, (the) Model UN club wasn’t as large a scale as Prosper’s is going to be,” Mandem said. “We didn’t get to compete beyond state.”

Last year, members chose which countries they represented in club meetings. This year, officers are changing procedures in order to increase learning benefits for members.

“We (the officers) will be assigning them because I think if people chose, it would be countries that they already know about,” Mandem said. “And, I want them to explore countries that they’re not as familiar with. So, we’re going to be doing random assignments, and then switching every two weeks or so.”

Since the club was new last year, its members didn’t compete in any conferences. They plan to be ambitious this year, hoping to increase their involvement in Prosper.

“When we started, we were all pretty new to it,” Mandem said. “Many of the students that were in the club didn’t know what Model UN was. So, this year, I feel like we have more experience with how everything works, and we’re going to do actual conferences. We’re gonna have fundraisers, and I think we’re going to be more involved with the community overall.”

Members of Model UN learn skills that help with not just their classes, but their future. Mandem is confident that Model UN skills can carry students through almost anything.

“I would say that it will mature their public speaking and conflict resolution skills and their ability to collaborate with others,” Mandem said. “These skills apply beyond high school. They apply into college, into their jobs and into the rest of their lives.”