Global water issues are continuously gaining importance due to scarcity, quality, and sanitation which then impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities (Nino, Alexovich, & Intern, 2016). Youth employment not only provides income, but it also helps youth create connections, build self-confidence, and discover a direction for their future. The conference also included a panel led by Humphrey Fellows and assisted students in resolution writing in five different committees.
As a part of the conference, UNA-MN, in conjunction with Global Minnesota (a local non-profit focused on global initiatives), created a program called, “The Future Diplomat Initiative” in which one delegation is selected to attend any Global Minnesota Event or diplomat luncheon of their choice.
When describing the importance of universal access to water, Suzie spoke passionately explaining that “it's crucial in the world because it doesn't just affect water, it also affects peoples’ standard of living.” She then added that “here in Minnesota, we don't usually consider water a struggle, but in other parts of the country [water scarcity] directly affects peoples’ lives.” She further clarified that while everyone was advocating for access to water, there was a lot of divisiveness with some countries hoping to privatize the resource. Suzie and Ashley recognized the discord and decided that the only way to achieve the goal of universal access to water was through cooperation.
Ashley explained that a key to their success came from their “focus on the source of the problem.” This emphasis differentiated their proposal because “anyone could approach a problem like water and say ‘let's just build some wells for the people,’ but that's not a sustainable solution.” Instead, Suzie and Ashley decided to “focus on how to target the source, how to target the government regulation, and figure out how [they] could provide a long-term plan for access to water.” Suzie further explained that the complexity of the issue exists because “you have to think of a short term plan as well as a long-term plan.” By focusing on the source of the problem and finding long-term solutions, Ashley and Suzie created a much more comprehensive solution to the issue.
Suzie is a senior at Minnetonka High School and captain of her school’s Model UN (MUN) Club. When reflecting upon why MUN is so important to her, Suzie explained that she wanted to “find a place where I could say I was really passionate about doing something; MUN was the perfect fit. It was a commitment, but it didn't take up all of my time it allowed me to meet new people, and most importantly it challenged my ideas. I mean you go in with one mindset of how the world works and how things get done, and then you go, and people challenge you on it, and it helps you grow as a person, and it helps your ideas formulate so they can be better and help more people.”
Suzie hopes to attend American University in Washington D.C. where she plans on studying Political Communications with a focus on Political Science and Government. MUN helped Suzie discover that Political Communications was an area she was interested in and in which she could develop a career. Suzie explained that career wise she could see herself being anything from a “political correspondent on the news to being a diplomat, to working in government.”
Ashley, a junior at Minnetonka High School, when asked what made MUN so important to her explained that “MUN has provided me with a new perspective. I love learning about the different countries because here in Minnesota, we don't always get to see what's outside of our little bubble of our world. I like exploring global issues, and also I feel like MUN has allowed me to grow in my public speaking and my ability to collaborate with other students and come up with a common solution.”
1) Nino, F. S., Alexovich, A., & Intern, D. D. (2016, November 18). Water and sanitation - United Nations sustainable development. Retrieved December 6, 2016, from http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/