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Aspen’s Model U.N. has eyes on trip to NYC

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” A group of Aspen high school students soon will be learning what it’s like to sit on a United Nations committee and wrestle with some of the thornier problems facing the developing world.

Social Studies teacher Matt Wells once again is taking Aspen High School’s Model U.N. Club to New York next week, leaving March 11 and returning March 15, and he’s looking for a little financial help to make it all happen.

The students, including the 25 from Aspen, will spend time sitting in the chairs normally occupied by U.N. envoys and ambassadors. And together they will join forces with other high school clubs from around the nation in considering a variety of international issues.



The National High School Model U.N. Conference, which was first developed as a college-level exercise, is designed to give students an idea of what it’s like to work in the diplomatic services, according to Wells, who has taken his club to Model U.N. events three years in a row.

This year, he said, the Aspen students will sit on mock U.N. committees where they will “represent” the nations of Vietnam and Sierra Leone, dealing with issues that include information access for developing countries, the financing of paramilitary groups, nuclear disarmament in Central Asia and the World Bank’s role in stabilizing populations and managing urban development.




The students, he said, have been researching the relevant countries and issues and preparing position papers that explain their nation’s stance on the issues, as well as trying to determine effective alliances that might benefit their nation’s efforts.

“They’re doing this all kind of on their own time,” Wells said proudly.

The club still is trying to raise money for the trip, which Wells said is expected to cost approximately $10,000 total. He said roughly half of that has been contributed by the students’ families and by a number of area businesses, and that donations will be accepted even after the kids have returned in order to pay back loans that enabled the club to go.

Anyone interested in contributing can contact Wells by e-mail at mwells@aspenk12.net, or by phone at 429-3566.

jcolson@aspentimes.com