Seventeen students from Highland View Academy, Pine Forge Academy, Spencerville Adventist Academy (SAA), and Takoma Academy participated at The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) Conference in the Netherlands this past January.
The event, organized and supported by Washington Adventist University’s Honors College, was the first in-person THIMUN conference a Seventh-day Adventist school delegation has attended in person.
"I was so proud of each of the students as they almost immediately began contributing to the debate at the conference. From day one, they were engaging other delegates, asking points of information, making speeches on behalf of their country, and generally pushing for meaningful solutions to the issues at hand. Columbia Union academies were very well represented in a conference that included students from more than 200 schools from around the world,” said Jonathan Scriven, Model United Nations (MUN) director of the Honors College at WAU, based in Takoma Park, Maryland.
The Adventist student delegation, which represented the country of Equatorial Guinea during the conference, participated in United Nations committees, including the Human Rights Council, the Economic and Social Council, a Special Council on Disarmament and International Security, the Sustainable Development Commission, and several General Assembly committees. The delegates spent four full days debating global issues and searching for international solutions to some of the world's biggest challenges.
To prepare for the conference, delegates attended a briefing at the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Washington, D.C., on January 20. Members of the Equatorial Guinea diplomatic staff spoke to the delegates about the international goals and objectives of the country and provided insights on how to best represent Equatorial Guinea at the THIMUN conference.
In addition to the THIMUN experience, the group worshiped and delivered sermons at a local Adventist church. They later spent time with a youth group from the church.
"The conference was a great experience. While attending, you not only got to learn about the culture of the country that each delegate was representing but also about the culture of the country they, themselves, came from. I have a better understanding of the world because of this experience," says Leighvanni Kennedy, a junior at SAA in Maryland.
"It was an honor to attend the THIMUN Conference as the first group of SDA schools to attend. It was a blessing to spread our light to everyone that we came across. This was the trip of a lifetime, and I pray that I will be able to do it again next year," said Lawrence Well, a junior at Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania.
Scriven shared, "We are already in the planning stages to take a group of academy students to THIMUN next year. We not only had a wonderful experience at the conference, but we made new friends at the Adventist church in The Hague, and we look forward to meeting with them again next year as well."
The WAU Honors College actively participates in MUN through its WAU MUN program, which allows university students to participate in national and global conferences each year. The Honors College also hosts a conference for high school students each spring called CAPITALMUN. This year's CAPITALMUN conference will be held on WAU’s campus on March 21, 2023.
The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division website.