Over 180 middle school students from across New Jersey descended on Christian Brothers Academy as part of the sixth annual Middle School Model United Nations Conference on Friday, November 2nd.
Competitive Model United Nations functions much like debate, however instead of arguing positions, participants take on the roles of nations or political figures and debate within the confines of various UN and political bodies such as the United Nations Security Council or General Assembly. Model United Nations has a long history at CBA, with Dr. John Gustavsen now overseeing the program.
The conference is a nice opportunity to showcase CBA, both for prospective students and the wider community, giving CBA students a chance to look at Model United Nations from the organizational side. Preparation for the conference began last summer with CBA students choosing committees and preparing background guides for the middle school delegates. This year’s committees dealt with topics such as the Syrian Civil War, the Amazon, the U.S. Constitutional Convention, World War II, and more.
Committee chairs attended several meetings and training sessions to prepare them to oversee the committee meetings and judge the performance of the middle school students. CBA students also visited several middle schools prior to the conference to assist them in preparing for the conference. Nearly 60 Academy men assisted with the conference, led by Tom Schultz, Brian Soler and William Walsh.
The middle school visitors and CBA students were treated to a keynote address by retired U.S. Army officer and FBI agent, Jim DiOrio. A graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, DiOrio was a Field Artillery and Civil Affairs Officer in the Army. After leaving the armed forces, DiOrio joined the Federal Bureau of Investigations, where he led criminal and terrorist investigations, oversaw the FBI’s Evidence Response Team, and served as a liaison to both military and intelligence units worldwide. He was able to use his experience in both the Army and FBI to speak to the students on the complicated nature of foreign affairs and the high-intensity problem solving involved.
The conference also presents a closing ceremony, where prizes are awarded for those students who best argued their positions in each committee. After the tally, Oak Hill Academy from Lincroft won the Best Delegation Award, while Holy Cross School in Rumson won the Best Small Delegation Award.