As a high school student interested in going into the Foreign Service, I found it difficult to find women mentors in the career field in which I was interested. Not until my first year of college did I find a strong female mentor in my career area of interest. While I was lucky to find amazing mentors, who were crucial to my success thus far, many others have not been as successful in their search for mentorship and do not find compatible mentors until later in their careers, if ever. For this reason, I created the mentoring group leading toget[her].
Written by Erin Nelsen, MUN Journalist
As a recent immigrant to the United States, Raquel Andrade, a Spanish teacher at Anthony Middle School in Minneapolis, is new to educating and the Model United Nations (MUN) program. Andrade chose to pursue her teaching degree after apprehending the underrepresented nature of the minority community in public schools. Now, Andrade works to include the Spanish MUN, the only MUN in the country held entirely in Spanish, into her teaching due to the program’s immense impact on her students. To learn more about the program’s impact and the experiences of this teacher and her students, I interviewed Raquel Andrade.
Written by Erin Nelsen, MUN Journalist
Ann Sandstrom, a geography teacher at Capitol Hill Middle School in St Paul, and Norma Rowe Award winner, first started teaching in Stockholm, Sweden where she taught English to workers focusing specifically on vocabulary and fluency. After moving back to the United States, Sandstrom continued her passion for teaching by pursuing her teaching license in social studies and English and becoming a teacher at Capitol Hill where she brings Model UN to her students. Sandstrom has displayed her dedication to the program by continuing to bring Model UN to her students even after the district stopped funding the program.
Sandstrom has been hosting Model UN conferences for the past six years. She explained that it is “a lot of work, but I really enjoy it.” The first year Sandstrom participated in a Model UN conference, she did not know what to expect but remembers being extremely impressed by the program. Now, Sandstrom knows what to expect and which lessons to focus on to best prepare her students for the conferences. Sandstrom explained that “it’s fun to prepare [her students] for it” and that now, “It goes smoothly. I just have to make sure that they have the technology and the chairs. They take care of everything else.” Despite the fact that the district cut funding for the program, Sandstrom continued to bring Model UN to her students because of her love for the program and her belief in the cruciality of the skills Model UN teaches her students. She clarified explaining, “it is so important to do research, public speaking, and to work together in teams, I just didn’t want to give it up.” Another positive aspect of Model UN that Sandstrom noted was that it made the students think in a different way. Instead of focusing on their opinions, the students have to focus on their country’s position and avoid mixing in their feelings and emotions. This separation of personal and professional feelings is an important skill for both the conference and the students’ futures.
Written by Brandon Gorringe, MUN Consultant
Photograph taken by Richmond Fiksdal
The United Nations Association of Minnesota (UNA-MN) held its second Model United Nations State High School Conference at Macalester College on March 20, 2017. Coleton Hanson, Program Coordinator at UNA-MN with 15 years of MUN experience, opened the conference.
The topics discussed were: Access to Resources, Refugee Issues and Issues of Peace & Security. The delegates in these three committees discussed:
The delegates were welcomed by Anne Walsh, Associate Director of Admissions at Macalester College, on behalf of college faculty, staff and students. Walsh shared that young adults should take advantage these educational experiences on college campuses: “Macalester has always emphasized international awareness. One in six students come from another country and students come from 95 countries. We offer terrific study abroad programs. The breadth of offerings is quite exciting … One of our alums was Kofi Annan. At Macalester, the international experience is part of our mission.”
Written by Erin Nelsen, MUN Journalist
Teachers and MUN Staff from Right to Left: Jason Jirsa, Taylor Harris, Andrea Klein Bergman, and April DeJarlis
Jason Jirsa and Taylor Harris receiving the distinguished Norma Rowe Model UN Teacher Awards for their outstanding work in Model UN in 2016. The photo was taking at the United Nations Association of Minnesota’s Annual Meeting and Recognition event on Saturday, October 29th.
After the Minneapolis school district stopped funding the in-school conferences for the middle school Model United Nations (MUN) program, two dedicated teachers, with the help of volunteers from the University of Minnesota's MUN team, Cambridge High School’s MUN team, and the MUN senior staff volunteered to help make the February 10th conference a truly memorable experience. To learn more about the teachers and this event, I interviewed the two teachers, Jason Jirsa and Taylor Harris, who later won the Norma Rowe MUN Teacher Award for their long-term commitment to and participation in MUN, hard work teaching and preparing students, as well as their high standards, enthusiasm, and creativity. I also interviewed Coleton Hanson, a senior staff member at MUN who’s efforts made the event possible.
Jason Jirsa, a Social Studies teacher at Northeast Middle School, when asked how he decided to go into teaching, said that he has always loved working with kids and learning about history, social studies and geography. He started his teaching career at a U.S. Space Camp where he explained: “everything was exciting.” Jirsa then transferred this student excitement for learning into the classroom where MUN became a geographical Space Mission. Jirsa added that “Schools need more of this type of learning simulations and events to celebrate [students’] learning, [they need] something that feels real to them.”
Written by Erin Nelsen, MUN Journalist
Throughout this course, I have had the opportunity to examine the stakeholder’s role in confronting opportunities and challenges associated with sustainability in Chile. I have conducted individual research, collaborated with a team to create a presentation, and met with organizations and leaders while learning about the complex culture and values present in Chile. This paper will address the role of business, universities, non-governmental organizations, and the government in the sustainability movement as well as discuss some of the less successful sustainability strategies and initiatives in Chile and how they can improve. To do this, I will incorporate several lenses including the Triple Bottom Line, which measures a company’s social responsibility, environmental impact along with their economic profit, and the stakeholders’ perspective (Rogers & Hudson, 2011).
The role of business in the sustainability movement is mutually beneficial in that sustainability needs business and business needs sustainability. While in Chile, we met with several companies and two, in particular, Conecta and 3M embodied how businesses should and do work with sustainability. Conecta, a consulting firm in Chile’s aquaculture industry, helps the government and other stakeholders create incentives and practices by bringing more actors to the discussion table. One sustainability practice that they employ is the theoretical license to operate. The license to operate is the support or consent of the people and stakeholders of a corporation and their operations. In the United States (U.S.), companies often function without this theoretical permission because the government plays a greater role in regulations and protection of communities, whereas in Chile, government regulation is considerably looser. This lower level of regulation is apparent in the salmon industry where the government allows 1,350 commercial licenses granted to salmon production; if all of these licenses were in use, it would result in a natural disaster. Conecta functions in this niche market of regulation because people are shifting toward organic and environmentally safe products in which they “don’t want to buy a product, they want to buy a concept” (B. Contreras & C. Odebret, personal communication, January 12, 2017). Conecta helps salmon producers create this concept by providing companies with a better understanding of sustainability, how to share the value of water and how to mitigate the risks involved in this shared resource.
3M, an American multinational conglomerate corporation, similarly works with clients to create sustainable solutions. Wendy Benson, the Managing Director at 3M Chile, explained that at 3M they “use science to make people’s lives better” (W. Benson, personal communication, January 17, 2017). The company works in many markets around the world producing 60,000 products, making them one of the most diversified global companies. In Chile, however, they only market and sell 5,000 of these goods; they do this to be sustainable from both a people and a profit perspective. As one of the most ethical and respected companies in the world, 3M works under the mindset that “if I cut down a tree, I have to grow a tree for the future” (W. Benson, personal communication, January 17, 2017). This outlook makes the company environmentally sustainable so that 3M Chile covers all three lines of the Triple Bottom Line perspective.
Similarly to businesses mutually beneficial relationship with sustainability, the role of universities in the sustainability movement is two-sided because the University benefits by gaining knowledge and examples from other stakeholders about sustainability. This input supports the University's efforts in teaching students about the concepts of sustainability and also about best practices of companies. At the Universidad Aldolpho Ibanez’s (UAI’s) Center for Business Sustainability, the University works with both private and public stakeholders to create real solutions to today’s challenges with sustainability. Not only does UAI help develop solutions and spread the knowledge, but they also help manage these results so that they also meet the needs of the organizations. The University also works together with national business leaders, from different sectors and convenes annually to pinpoint their sustainability challenges as a contribution to research and to decide on business models and tactical decisions based on financial, ecological and societal concerns (“Escuela de Negocios Lanza el centre for business sustainability (CBS),” 2014).
Compared to UAI’s research and education tactics, Universidad Catolica takes a more hands-on approach. While they only employ seven people in their Center for Business Sustainability, this is considered a relatively large department dedicated to sustainability, and they have already implemented many projects. One of these projects is Punto Limpio recycling containers where people can not only sort garbage into trash and recyclables but also based on subcategories like boxes, newspapers, bottles, cans and juice boxes. The University also deployed solar panels to heat their pool and created a sustainable garden on campus. This garden is worked by volunteers and provides produce for free to the school and those who have helped cultivate the plants.
The role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) similarly takes a hands-on approach but as a bridge between larger players instead of working with the resources themselves. The approaches to social responsibility can be broken down into four categories proactive: corporations working for what is best for our future, accommodative: organizations that adapt to what is required, defensive: those organizations that are trying to protect their industry by avoiding changes that would be positive for environment, and obstructionist: organizations who are going against the law (B. Contreras & C. Odebret, personal communication, January 12, 2017). NGOs use a proactive approach to social responsibility in that they operate without financial incentives, are led by a mission, initiate change not react to change, and create shared value.
Tompkins Conservation, one of the NGOs that we met with in Puerto Varas, works to make national parks, protect endangered animals, employ sustainable agriculture techniques, support activism, and support prosperous communities. Tompkins Conservation works in both the public and private corporation spaces in Chile and Argentina. They operate on the concept that every human has the same right to live on this planet, driving their desire to preserve as much as possible. Despite the low appreciation of national parks in Chile, Tompkins Conservation does not believe in privatizing the park land. This belief stems from a different conception that the government is a positive entity; it just does not have the funds to create these parks on its own. This situation makes the business unstable economically, but stable ecologically.
Casa de la Paz also does public and private corporation work in Chile, but unlike Tompkins Conservation, Casa de la Paz focuses on social sustainability over environmental sustainability. Casa de la Paz works as an intermediary between the government and large enterprises and views sustainability as an environmental, social, and economic agreement. This perspective likely arises from the political situation occurring at the time of the organization’s creation. Casa de la Paz, meaning house of peace, took shape in 1983 during the cold war and military dictatorship and lasted through the government evolution to democracy. For this reason, the organization created six principles that help them work with and not for the community. By using this type of system, Casa de la Paz can determine what the group needs instead of what they believe they want.
The role of government in the sustainability movement focuses more on the creation of policy and regulation than as a mediator. Chile has 23 government ministries with the Ministry of the Environment playing the principal role in the sustainability movement. The Ministry of the Environment’s goal is to achieve sustainable development for the country with the aim of improving the quality of life for Chileans both of this generation and the future, by leading sustainable development through the generation of efficient public policies and regulations promoting good practices and improving citizen environmental education. While this may appear to be a worthy goal, it is easier said than done. With non-renewable resources accounting for a majority of Chile’s energy, wood burning as a primary source of heat, and only 15% of their garbage recycled, compared to 60% for the US, it may be necessary to create more achievable goals as steps toward this lofty goal.
Puerto Valparaiso, while not a ministry, functions as a private company owned by the government. The port focuses more on economic sustainability than environmental but still places some emphasis on social sustainability. Puerto Valparaiso acts as a port for many products including fruit, wine, industrial production, food, and copper. While the harbor ships to many areas, they have created deals with some places where, if they transport their goods there before a certain time, they do not have to pay taxes. One of these locations is California which removes taxes, which function as a barrier to entry into the market, if they get the shipment there before April seventh. This action is both sustainable economically for the port and socially for California because it brings in agricultural goods that are not yet in season while simultaneously protecting the agricultural industry from foreign competition. Because the port is government owned, the profit from the port goes to the Chilean government and not the city. This situation creates some social tension between the harbor and citizens of Valparaiso, so the port is implementing some programs to give back to the people such as an area for the public to have water access.
While these universities, businesses, NGOs, and government organizations were predominately representative of positive roles on sustainability, there were also many instances of less successful strategies and initiatives. One example of a less successful business was the KDM landfill we visited, which positioned itself as a progressive, sustainable force. While the landfill provides solar energy to power 1500 homes and produces biogas to create energy, this is only a fragment of what is needed to support the population of Chile. The landfill is environmentally unsustainable in the fact that they only recycle 15% of the garbage and they produce a residual liquid from the waste which they cannot get rid of because they cannot afford the technology to clean it. Further, the landfill itself is socially unsustainable because only two of its 3,000 workers are women.
Another observable example of negative sustainability manifests in the government’s owning of businesses. The Chilean government owns Minister Alice, the largest copper mine in Chile, and 20% of Chile’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from copper. This situation is both economically and socially unsustainable because it places too much importance on the price of copper because even a small change in price could dramatically affect the economy, and socially unsustainable because it creates a conflict of interests between people and profit.
This course allowed me the opportunity to examine the role of the stakeholder in confronting opportunities and challenges associated with sustainability in Chile. I have discovered that while business, universities, non-governmental organizations, and the government have diverse roles in sustainability, they can all have a positive impact on the movement. Through my individual research, collaboration as a team, and meetings with organizations and leaders I have gained a greater understanding of Chile’s multifaceted culture and values as they relate to sustainability.
Written by Brandon Gorringe, MUN Consultant
The United Nations Association of Minnesota’s Model UN Conference was held March 2nd in partnership with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Dr. Sherry Gray, Coordinator and Lecturer in the Global Policy Area of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota greeted the student delegates. The delegates traveled from Cambridge-Isanti High School, Champlin High School, Chanhassen High School, Edina High School, Irondale High School, Minnetonka High School, Nova Classical Academy and St. Paul Preparatory School to participate. Dr. Gray introduced students to the Humphrey School and said that attending the university will prepare students to discuss major world issues such as climate change, refugees and sustainable development. Dr. Gray concluded that Hubert Humphrey “embodies a culture of service”.
Written by Erin Nelsen, MUN Journalist
The United Nations Association of Minnesota (UNA-MN) High School State Conference took place November 8th, 2016 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the University of Minnesota Campus. Addressing global issues, including universal access to water and youth employment, at the conference is just one way through which UNA-MN delivers an innovative international education program that engages students beyond the classroom. Each conference focuses on different concerns with global impacts.
These students are chosen based on their ability to negotiate, understand, contribute to and employ resources in papers, lead discussions, ensure productivity and inclusivity, articulate their country’s position, and respect other delegates. This year’s winners were, Ashley Gao and Suzie Cavalier, two students representing Columbia on the topic of universal access to water.
Written by Olivia Gardiner, MUN Journalist
Model United Nations, although only a month at Murray, impacts the students greatly. Yang thinks it teaches real-life skills such as problem solving skills, inference, public speaking, debate skills, and researching skills. She has seen MUN benefit many students over the years, and this year some of her students even decided they wanted to continue Model UN in high school. Some of her students have personal experiences in the refugee camps in Thailand and DRC that “have seen the good that the UN stands for.” A. Yang thinks that Model United Nations is important because it combines many of the components she teaches in different units and brings them together. MUN also teaches the students teamwork. She thinks it teaches her students “to negotiate and compromise. Everyone can win without violence or war. This idea of talking to solve problems is very new to some of my students who don’t know of any other way.
The Murray Middle School in-school conference was a big success. The students even passed a resolution unanimously, something they took pride in. Yang’s role in the conference was to teach her students about the real United Nations and then about Model UN, and then to set up the conference, which was anything from setting up rooms to finding chaperones. Yang thinks the biggest benefit to an in-school conference was that all of her students were able to participate on some level. The students all enjoyed it as well, with one student even thanking her for the opportunity and telling her, “This was the best thing we did in Global Studies all year.” A lot of the students loved the planetary simulation and Yang felt that pretty much every student was engaged at some level in the conference.
Written by: Alexandra Roisen
Model UN Mission:
UNA-MN's Model United Nations inclusive education programs engages students with diverse academic and personal backgrounds to become global citizens and future leaders in their communities and beyond.
Background on Spanish Model UN in the Twin Cities
The United Nations Association of Minnesota (UNA-MN) has been providing a Spanish Model UN program since 2011, working with the Latino community and students thus preparing for the April 2017 official launch with it's first Lead Sponsor, Cargill, for continued growth and success of our Spanish Model UN State Conference.
In 2016 we have had a record seven participating schools with 285 students attending the state conference. This program has grown 88% in the past 2 years alone. The conference is held entirely in Spanish. This not only helps them hone in on their language skills, but shapes their interactive skills to debate and come to peaceful resolutions making them a stronger generation of future Latino leaders.
As Lead Sponsor for the Spanish MUN program in 2016-2017, the Cargill Corporation Leadership team was interviewed regarding their community participation with this important program.
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