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Aspen students study locally, act globally

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Do you know where Nauru is? And if you do, can you conjure up a guess as to its stance on the crisis in the Ivory Coast?

A group of Aspen High School students knows the answer to both questions, and they’ll prove it Thursday at a Model United Nations simulation at The Aspen Institute.

“We are always trying to find ways to share our resources with the community; in this instance, we are thrilled to be able to offer a venue to these students so they can showcase the amazing work they are doing,” said Cristal Logan, community outreach director for the institute.

The students are members of the Aspen High School Model United Nations Club. The club, which was started in 2004, allows students to “step into the shoes of ambassadors from U.N. member states to debate current issues on the organization’s vast agenda,” notes the club’s description flier. Among other things, students prepare draft resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate with supporters and adversaries, resolve conflicts, and navigate the U.N.’s rules of procedure.

“It really is like being part of a United Nations proceeding,” said AHS teacher and club sponsor Matt Wells, adding that 41 students are active club members.

Thursday’s event at the Doerr-Hosier Center is a precursor to the club’s upcoming trip to Chicago for the Model United Nations Conference, Feb. 3-6. There, some 2,000 students from around the world will participate in U.N. simulations. Aspen will represent the nations of Spain, Belarus and Naura (answer: the world’s smallest republic, located in the South Pacific); they will also be part of the Office of Inspections on a special DEA committee and act as vice premier for the economy in a special Chinese Politburo simulation.

“It is a lot of work, as these kids really do have to learn about not only the countries they are representing, but the topics at hand,” said Wells, who was a Model United Nations club member when he was in high school. “And beyond that, it is a great confidence-builder; a great experience for life after high school.”

Thursday’s event begins at 5:30 with a presentation about the AHS Model United Nations Club, followed by a simulation of U.N. proceedings at the Doerr-Hosier Center at the Aspen Meadows. It is free and open to the public. Contributions are welcome, with all proceeds going to support the students’ trip to the Chicago conference.

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com


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