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PREPARING STUDENTS TO SOLVE WORLD CRISES

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November 23, 2021 

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Notre Dame Prep's Model United Nations team works on reducing ocean pollution at recent SEMMUNA event in Bloomfield Hills.

Notre Dame Prep sophomore Michael Kenny, standing at left, addresses a session at the SEMMUNA fall event held earlier this month. More photos below.

On November 13, member schools of the the Southeast Michigan Model United Nations Association (SEMMUNA) got together at Bloomfield Hills High School for the first big state event this school year for high school students involved in MUN, or Model United Nations. 

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. Students typically simulate a UN assembly or meeting and act as a country that tries to pass resolutions that would benefit your country in a specific meeting or around a common objective.

This year's fall conference in Bloomfield Hills was structured around three committee blocs: the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural committee (SOCHUM), which deliberated on combating hate speech; the World Health Organization (WHO) committee, which focused on pandemic preparedness; and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), which worked on ocean pollution.

Michael Kenny, currently a sophomore at Notre Dame Prep and one of the leaders of the school's MUN group, said all of NDP's contingent were members of the UNEP bloc working on ocean pollution. He said NDP students had a great time at the event.

"In our work at the conference, the NDP students' countries ranged all the way from the United States and the United Kingdom to Tunisia and South Africa," he said. "While not all of us were successful in passing our resolutions to the UNEP issues, we all had an amazing time."


According to the committee's background paper, UNEP works to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, with a special focus on the environment, which people depend on for foods and services. Reducing ocean pollution specifically addresses building sustainable blue economies and combating marine pollution in all its forms. The background paper also noted that "one country’s contribution to ocean pollution affects all other countries."

Kenny added that NDP’s delegates thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned not only about foreign policy and pollution at sea, but also how to improve their public speaking skills. 

Violet Dedivanaj, a Notre Dame freshman and MUN team member, concurs.

“My favorite part was how everyone got a chance to speak and that no one was purposely ignored,” she said.

Sophomore Sophia Pauwels said she loved meeting other delegates and hearing their ideas, and junior Blake Banninger added that the ability to write the committee's own bills was exciting. 

For ninth-grader Alessa Atallah, it was more about the social aspect of the conference. “I loved getting to make new friends and working with them,” she said.

In March of 2022, Notre Dame Prep's MUN team will participate in the 6th Annual Oakland University High School Model United Nations Conference hosted by OU's Model United Nations Club and the Oakland University Political Science Department. 

Until then, Kenny said the school's MUN team will savor their most recent experience while preparing for the next with NDP's MUN moderator Joe Mileski, now in his third year overseeing the program.

"That amazing conference in Bloomfield Hills was great for all our students who attended," Kenny added, "but it would not have been possible without Mr. Mileski."

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

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. Notre Dame Preparatory 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 pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three 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 National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.