HISD students head to New York for Model UN

March 11, 2008 12:56:44 PM PDT
Students from HISD's Houston Academy for International Studies (HAIS) are joining schools from around the globe to participate in the National High School Model United Nations simulation in New York, New York, from March 12 - 16. Twelve 10th grade students and three 9th grade students from HAIS will be participating. Model United Nations is a powerful academic activity for students, giving them an opportunity to research, debate, and negotiate their way to solutions to real global issues. Each school represents one country, and every student represents his country in a different committee of the U.N.

"Students are forced out of their comfort zones and required to see life from another nation's perspective, gaining a wealth of knowledge about the world outside their insulated communities," said HAIS principal Melissa Jacobs-Thibaut. "Along the way, they become more confident, more eloquent, and more aware of the suffering of those around the globe."

HAIS students are representing the Iran, and have been studying topics as diverse as the Kyoto Protocol, the AIDS crisis in Africa, and the financing of paramilitary groups in preparation for the trip.

"Because of the United States' unstable relationship with Iran, it has proven to be a challenging country to represent, but our students have approached the challenge with open and alert minds, searching for ways to understand the motives behind Iran's actions," said Jacobs-Thibaut. "This exercise has made the students much more aware of the complicated power struggles the United States faces around the world."

"We weren't given much choice in our country assignment, but I have been very happy with the engaging discussions and controversial debates that representing Iran has elicited," said HAIS Model UN sponsor Faith Fugit.

HAIS is an HISD charter school that opened in August, 2006. The Academy is a partnership with the Houston Community College Central Campus, Houston A+ Challenge and the Asia Society's Network of International Studies Schools. Last summer, 10 sophomores from the school visited seven different countries to immerse themselves in language and culture, with an eye towards preparing themselves for success in today's global society.


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