Notre Dame Model UN delegates finish strong conference season with awards and a foundation for further growth; NDP upper-class delegates set 'examples of maturity, dedication and intelligence.'
This past March, Notre Dame's Model United Nations club participated in two season-ending conferences sponsored by Oakland University and Michigan State University, respectively. Model United Nations, which has national, state and regional components, is a nonprofit organization that advances understanding of the United Nations and contemporary international issues.
At the beginning of the month, on March 1-2, 14 Notre Dame Prep delegates attended the 4th Annual Model United Nations Conference at Oakland University. Representing such nations as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Poland, Sweden and Vietnam, Notre Dame delegates spent the weekend making speeches, asking questions, caucusing with other delegates, and writing and passing UN resolutions.
According to Dave Osiecki, ND Prep's Model UN moderator and social studies teacher, many of the area's top Model UN programs attended the OU conference, including delegations from Bloomfield Hills High School, Ann Arbor Greenhills, the Roeper School, Troy High School and Stoney Creek High School.
"I thought the weekend debates at OU across the board were consistently substantive, thoughtful and well-researched," Osiecki said.
Two weeks later, on March 15-17, the Notre Dame Model UN team completed its season by participating in the 19th annual Michigan State University Model United Nations Conference (MSUMUN). Model UN delegations attended the conference from all parts of Michigan and the Midwest, including teams from Detroit Country Day, the International Academies, Grand Rapids Catholic Central and a number of excellent teams from St Ignatius High School and Lakewood High School (Cleveland-area schools).
"Our delegates participated in traditional General Assembly committees (WHO, SPECPOL, UNEP) as well as more imaginative and speculative committees dealing with debates in India's upper house of parliament (the Rajya Sabha, or Council of States) as well as a crisis in the Canadian maple syrup industry," said Osiecki about the MSU event.
Senior Rowland Scheessele added that the MSUMUN conference was a great exclamation point to his MUN career at Notre Dame.
“I was excited to be in a conference about the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) as Muslim rights are a very important issue facing our world today," he said. "Overall, it was a good debate and a fun experience. I’m glad to have been part of the club for all four years of high school as it has given me many great memories and has taught me so much over the years.”
All Notre Dame delegates performed well in committee at MSU with two ultimately getting recognized with awards at the event's closing ceremonies. Senior John Kenny was awarded the prestigious best delegate award for his representation of Canada on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and classmate Joe Joppich was given a verbal commendation for his role as Shri Anand Sharma in India's Rajya Sabha.
"This conference was my third and last MSUMUN," said Joppich, who was NDP's lead MUN delegate. "I have always enjoyed the exciting atmosphere at the conference and the intriguing topics that are talked about in the committees. This year, I participated in a committee with the goal of fixing some of the problems in India, including media censorship, women's rights and education. I'm really going to miss going to this conference."
"I had an amazing time in committee in which I helped lead the writing of resolutions designed to help solve water scarcity and malnutrition issues," he said. "Over the years, the NDP Model UN program offered me and my peers a unique opportunity to participate in a simulation of the United Nations. Every conference I have been to over the past three years was incredibly unique and engaging. I highly recommend that anyone who has any remote interest in public speaking and constructive debate to check out the school's MUN program."
Osiecki said the season is the end of some very impressive Model UN careers at Notre Dame.
"The Model UN program is in only its fifth year of existence, but there have been a number of seniors who have helped the program grow and prosper, with a few students in their third and fourth years of participation," he said. "They have provided examples of maturity, dedication, and intelligence to younger delegates and the club quite frankly could not have prospered and grown without them.
"My great thanks to all of the Model UN delegates this year, but a special thanks to all of the graduating seniors: head delegate Joe Joppich, Rowland Scheessele, Nolan Lawroski, Grace Mersino, Lizzie Brouns, John Kenny, Addison Young, David Mikkola and Matt Wood."
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three Notre Dame schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org