Daniel Green addresses an audience of nearly 500 high school students as the keynote speaker of this year's HenMUN opening ceremony. 


Model UN Conference prepares high school students to become world leaders


3:16 p.m., April 21, 2016--As Daniel Green, associate professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware, addressed this year’s nearly 500 HenMUN participants at an opening ceremony, he looked to each of them as members of the next generation of leaders in global affairs.  

In its fourth year, HenMUN, the University of Delaware’s Model United Nations Conference, has prepared high school students in the region to do just that. 

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According to Kevin Konzelman, the secretary general of HenMUN IV, the annual conference prompts students to ”dissect today’s top issues,” addressing topics including “refugees, land and resource rights in various parts of the world, and nuclear security, among others.” 

“We need to know...how this world works, in 2016 and the future -- more than ever before because I think that we are still the best choice to lead that world of equals. You need to be ready to do that,” said Green. 

In this world of which he spoke, with “persistent multipolarity,” technology, wealth and the flow of information will create the opportunity for equal strength and importance on the part of several great powers.  

“The world’s family of human beings is going to have to live with each other on a global scale as equals. That couldn’t have happened before in history,” he said.   

Julio Carrion, associate chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, added that HenMUN participants, who hailed from 30 high schools across the East Coast, gained the ability to reach across borders, developing solutions to shared challenges. 

“Many of our so-called national problems -- energy, climate change, financial and economic crises, travel, and immigration, just to name a few -- are global in nature,” said Carrion. “That means they cannot be properly addressed if we act in isolation from other nations.” 

The weekend-long event offered more than a dozen committees and specialized agencies, where students adopted and advocated for the viewpoints of a particular country. “They know the issues their committee is going to take up ahead of time,” said George C. Marshall High School adviser Tom Brannan, adding, “They have to do some kind of research on a country’s position on those issues. They have to be faithful to the position their country has taken.” 

The conference, which prides itself on a realistic approach, also includes several midnight crisis situations, in which the students are awakened to find that they must work together to solve a recently-erupted problem.  

Outside of their official duties, participants took tours of the University’s campus upon arrival, attended a HenMUN tradition -- the delegate dance -- and sampled UDairy Creamery ice cream during an ice cream social.  

The delegation also raised $1,676 for Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and lives of children in more than 60 countries born with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities. 

In addition to the eight members of the secretariat -- Kevin Konzelman, Micah Petersen, Alessandra Chapman, Gerard Weir, Chris Merken, Rachel Travis, Laura Holt and Alyssa Dugan -- more than 80 UD students volunteered to make the conference a success.  Konzelman, Petersen, Chapman, Travis and Holt are students in the Honors Program.

HenMUN IV has been sponsored by the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Office of the Provost, Institute for Global Studies, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, School of Public Policy and Administration, Office of Admissions, UD Honors Program, and the Office for International Students and Scholars.  

For more information on HenMUN, visit the program’s website, email sec-gen@henmun.org, or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

Article by Nikki Laws

Photos by McKenzie Tsaousis

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