Westwood Students Heading to Dartmouth College for Model UN Conference


Photo courtesy of Westwood Public Schools. Westwood High School Model United Nations member Jack Dullea addresses a council at a recent competition.

Thanks to Darcie Fisher and Westwood Public Schools for contributing this news to Westwood Minute.

In April this year, a group of 13 students from Westwood High School will journey to Dartmouth College for a Model United Nations (Model UN) conference hosted by the Ivy League school’s Model UN Club.

“This is our tenth year attending the Dartmouth conference,” said Chris Hilton, Westwood High School’s Model UN advisor. “They do a really nice job. Our students love playing the role of delegates and working to solve world conflicts.”

Diplomacy and International Relations are the heart of what the Model United Nations educational club is all about. More commonly known as Model UN, high school students from around the world take part in conferences where they work as representatives of a country or organization to solve world problems.

“There are so many skills I see my students get better at,” said Hilton. “They learn there are many ways to look at the same issue. No matter what field you go into, it’s helpful to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Students are put in a room with 30 strangers. They don’t know you. It can be frustrating. You have to learn to make people care about what you have to say. You need to communicate in a way people want to hear. It’s a real-life lesson.”

WHS alumna Lucia Vitali (Class of 2022) was an active member of Model UN while at Westwood High. She is now Chargé d’Affaires of Dartmouth’s Model UN Club and has a major role in planning this year’s conference.

“You get a very high-level debate with the more experienced delegates,” said Vitali. “There will be one ad-hoc committee which is reminiscent of the actual United Nations’ ad-hoc committee. They’ll find out their topic (on site) and only have 30 minutes to research before presenting.”

Jack Dullea is a Westwood High senior who first tried Model UN while in seventh grade.

“There are a lot of really unique skills Model UN helps you develop like public speaking,” said Dullea. “You’re constantly developing interpersonal skills. I’m not always comfortable being dropped in a room full of students I don’t know and having to work collaboratively, but this has helped me with that.”

Before Dullea and the other students arrive on Dartmouth’s campus, they will know what role they are playing, which committee they are on, and will research the topic they have been assigned to debate.

Dullea says his experiences in Model UN have made him want to major in History when he heads to college next year.

“We have 450 students coming this year, and another 450 on the waiting list,” said Vitali. “We are a fully self-funded club and travel to several conferences each year, but our big thing really is hosting this conference. We spend the entire year getting ready for it and it is completely student run. We’re responsible for everything from booking the rooms, selecting topics, getting our staff ready to host, to janitorial services.”

Westwood High School will host its own Model UN conference on April 27. About a dozen schools from the region are expected to attend.

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