At the annual Philadelphia, Model United Nations Conference (PhilMUN), which was held last week, Gill St. Bernard’s garnered the award for Outstanding Small Delegation for the first time. The feat is especially noteworthy as only two of the 12 student delegates, sophomores Jason Berg and Alan Chen were conference veterans. In addition to the group win, Berg received an award this year for most-improved delegate. According to Upper School history teacher Candace Pryor Brown, who advises the Model U.N. with Carrie Grabowski, Upper School world language teacher, "Almost all of the delegates were freshmen and sophomores. Basically, we brought a delegation of first-timers to the conference, and they did an amazing job." Grabowski is equally proud of the students, offering "Although the team is young and somewhat inexperienced, the students worked together as a real diplomatic corps."
At this year's conference, Gill represented China and Senegal. The conference is a serious commitment for students, as sessions run from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. with breaks only for lunch and dinner. Brown and Grabowski note that the group visited Independence Hall shortly after they arrived in Philadelphia, but that was the trip’s only sight-seeing opportunity. In addition to taking part in delegations, all of the conference participants attended the keynote address, delivered by Dr. Francis Barchi, an assistant professor in the Rutgers University School of Social Work and in the university’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research. A recognized expert in the fields of research ethics and global health, Barchi regularly conducts training initiatives in research ethics in Botswana. She spoke on sustainable development in Africa and urged delegates to be cognizant of the “countries of Africa,” their vast geographical and cultural diversity, and to be mindful of the legacies of occupation and imperialism.
More than 500 students, representing 25 schools, took part in this year’s PhilMUN Conference. Topics from this year’s event included refugee resettlement, empowerment through education, urban agriculture, maternal health in low-income countries, Human rights in Eritrea, preventing illegal effects of tourism in Africa and fighting corruption in international football.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.