Kentucky United Nations Assembly highlights culture and policy

0
1296

Bobby Ellis
bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

At the Marriott Hotel in downtown Louisville, Syrian diplomats celebrated their victory. They and their Russian allies had pushed a resolution through the United Nations General Assembly allowing them to privatize their public water systems without any pushback from the outside world. 

On the floor below, Australian and Japanese attorneys argued in front of the International Court of Justice about the harvesting of whales by Japanese ships. 

Besides taking place in a Louisville hotel, the biggest change to these United Nations procedures was that they were being carried out by Kentucky high school and middle school students. 

During the month of March, students from across Kentucky attended a session of the Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA), a 3-day long program put on by the YMCA. 

“It’s really cool,” said Sovann Chang, a junior at the Brown School (Jefferson County), who acted as a Russian representative in the general assembly. “It’s nice to learn more about the Russian culture and their point of view. We did a lot of research; we’ve been working on this for six or seven months.” 

Students participating in the International Court of Justice also put in a lot of work to prepare for the cases they were presenting. 

“You’re supposed to get your material a month in advance, but we were alternates, so originally we weren’t supposed to do this. Another team dropped out, so we had two weeks to read 100 pages about whaling,” said Belinda Chang, a senior at Taylor County High School, representing Australia. 

Chang said that things became easier when the team they were debating against helped them expand their points after the first of three presentations

“It was a bit of train wreck, but everyone’s really sweet,” said Chang. “We worked with the people representing Japan in the whaling case in between our arguments. They helped us, even though we were going up against them, and our later presentations got much better.” 

Despite the hard work, students said the effort was worth it for the opportunity to learn about other countries and meet new people. 

“I would say, just go ahead do it, even if you’re hesitant,” said J. Scott, a freshman at Montgomery County High School, representing Rwanda. “Once you do it, you won’t regret it. It’s so much fun. If you think you won’t be good enough, the committees teach you a lot and it’s a great learning experience.”

J. Scott, a freshman at Montgomery County High School, reads through a proposal while representing Rwanda in the General Assembly at the Kentucky United Nations Assembly. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
J. Scott, a freshman at Montgomery County High School, reads through a proposal while representing Rwanda in the General Assembly at the Kentucky United Nations Assembly.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Bethany Schagane, a senior at Western Hills High School (Franklin County), a judge on the KUNA International Criminal Court listens to evidence during a case about Japanese whaling. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Bethany Schagane, a senior at Western Hills High School (Franklin County), a judge on the KUNA International Criminal Court, listens to evidence during a case about Japanese whaling.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Belinda Chang, left, and Ivy Neal of Taylor County High School, present a case to the KUNA International Court of Justice. Chang and Neal were given two weeks to study 100 pages of information for their case. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Belinda Chang, left, and Ivy Neal of Taylor County High School, present a case to the KUNA International Court of Justice. Chang and Neal were given two weeks to study 100 pages of information for their case.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Judges at the International Court of Justice at KUNA listen to evidence regarding a case about Japanese whaling. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017.
Judges at the International Court of Justice at KUNA listen to evidence regarding a case about Japanese whaling.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017.
Nora Al-Shammari, a junior at the J. Graham Brown School (Jefferson County), hands out voting cards to students during the General Assembly at KUNA. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Nora Al-Shammari, a junior at the Brown School (Jefferson County), hands out voting cards to students during the General Assembly at KUNA.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Addison McCown, a freshman at Western Hills High School (Franklin County), listens to a proposal over countries privatizing water sources during the General Assembly at KUNA. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017j
Addison McCown, a freshman at Western Hills High School (Franklin County), listens to a proposal about countries privatizing water sources during the General Assembly at KUNA.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017j
Students present their case for and against a proposal during the General Assembly at KUNA. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Students present their case for and against a proposal during the General Assembly at KUNA.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Kennedy Hall, a senior at Frankfort High School (Frankfort Independent), listens to evidence presented during a case over Japanese whaling as she acts as a judge at the KUNA International Court of Justice. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Kennedy Hall, a senior at Frankfort High School (Frankfort Independent), listens to evidence presented during a case over Japanese whaling as she acts as a judge at the KUNA International Court of Justice.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Afi Tagnedji, a sophomore at Iroquois High School (Jefferson County), reads the Democratic Republic of the Congo's opinion on working with other nations on international space exploration during the KUNA Security Council. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Afi Tagnedji, a sophomore at Iroquois High School (Jefferson County), reads the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s opinion on working with other nations on space exploration during the KUNA Security Council.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Anam Ahmed, a junior at Elizabethtown High School (Elizabethtown Independent), reads over a document while representing Afghanistan at the KUNA Security Council. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Anam Ahmed, a junior at Elizabethtown High School (Elizabethtown Independent), reads over a document while representing Afghanistan at the KUNA Security Council.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Macee Pennington, a junior at Rowan County High School, speaks as a representative of France during the KUNA Security Council. The Security Council dealt with issues such as the Syrian Refugee crisis, international space programs and global warming. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Macee Pennington, a junior at Rowan County High School, speaks as a representative of France during the KUNA Security Council. The Security Council dealt with issues such as the Syrian Refugee crisis, international space programs and global warming.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Sovann Chang, a junior at J. Graham Brown School (Jefferson County), votes on a proposal while representing Russia in the KUNA General Assembly. Students studied other nation's culture along with their political views for around six months in preparation for KUNA. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017
Sovann Chang, a junior at J. Graham Brown School (Jefferson County), votes on a proposal while representing Russia in the KUNA General Assembly. Students studied their nation’s culture, along with its political views for about six months in preparation for KUNA.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2017

LEAVE A REPLY