Think­ing glob­ally

At a Model U.N. con­fer­ence, the out­look is bright

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - National -

What could be a more en­cour­ag­ing pic­ture than nearly 500 high school stu­dents from the re­gion spend­ing a day ad­dress­ing the for­eign af­fairs is­sues of the world in a com­pre­hen­sive fo­rum?

The Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh hosted on Mon­day its 21st Model United Na­tions con­fer­ence. It was at­tended by 448 stu­dents from 23 high schools in the re­gion. Each stu­dent in the 83 coun­try del­e­ga­tions par­tic­i­pat­ing was re­quired to un­der­stand how the United Na­tions func­tions and know the po­si­tion of the coun­try he or she was rep­re­sent­ing. (For the record, the win­ning coun­try del­e­ga­tions were France and Egypt.)

The real United Na­tions fre­quently gets bat­tered as ir­rel­e­vant or just a talk­ing ma­chine in Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal wars. So far, that does not ap­pear to be the case un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. It is also the case that the U.S. am­bas­sador to the U.N., for­mer South Carolina Gov. Nikki Ha­ley, has come to be one of the more vis­i­ble and com­pe­tent se­nior fig­ures in the ad­min­is­tra­tion. It is no se­cret that if Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son quits, de­cid­ing that he has had enough of Mr. Trump’s un­der­cut­ting him in pol­icy terms and starv­ing his depart­ment of re­sources, Ms. Ha­ley will prob­a­bly re­place him.

In the mean­time, in Pitts­burgh, the stu­dents ar­gued over and passed some res­o­lu­tions on is­sues all rel­e­vant to­day: Ter­ror­ism re­cruit­ment should be sti­fled. Emer­gency re­sponses to global health crises need to be speeded up. Bees, with their crit­i­cal pol­li­na­tion role, should be pro­tected. Women should have ac­cess to clean wa­ter with less per­sonal dan­ger to them­selves. Nu­clear cri­sis sit­u­a­tions should be ad­dressed more rapidly and ef­fec­tively.

There is prob­a­bly no more ef­fec­tive one-day ex­pe­ri­ence in for­eign af­fairs for young peo­ple than par­tic­i­pa­tion in a Model U.N. It sen­si­tizes them to the is­sues of the world and how they might come to be re­solved ef­fec­tively. Pitt, the stu­dents, the or­ga­niz­ers and the high school fac­ulty who pre­pared the stu­dents should be com­mended for their ef­fort Mon­day. We re­ally needed that.

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