Student Diplomat / Jr. Model UN Program

Program Details

The Student Diplomat Program / Jr. Model United Nations is a five-month comprehensive program that introduces over 750 middle school students from the Philadelphia region to international affairs and cultural diplomacy. The program, designed with an emphasis on building cultural competency and diplomatic skills, helps meet a growing demand for global affairs curricula in local middle schools. Program goals for students include: (1) gaining a deeper understanding of world geography, history, and cultures; (2) exploring the mission, structure, and function of the United Nations; (3) applying research and critical thinking skills to specific global issues; (4) learning to write, debate, and amend resolutions; (5) understanding the role of diplomacy and deliberation in international affairs; and (6) developing skills in conflict resolution, problem solving, and cross-cultural communication.

In addition to class or club work facilitated by teachers throughout the school year, the Council meets with the middle school students on three separate occasions from January through May, producing three very distinct programs, outlined as follows:

Cultural Diplomacy Conference
January 2020 • The Penn Museum

Over three days in January, and produced in partnership with the Penn Museum, students explored the importance of cross-cultural understanding and diplomacy through collaborative presentations conducted by the Council and the Museum’s International Classroom professionals. The program also included small group tours facilitated by the Penn Museum’s Global Guides and scholars. 

Jr. Model United Nations Preparatory Conference
March 2020 • Fox School of Business at Temple University

Over a two day period, Council staff met with all 750 students to conduct intensive four-hour prep sessions that included an outline of the roles and responsibilities of the United Nations, an introduction to writing and amending resolutions, and a substantive topic briefing by an expert on each topic. This year, students addressed two important issues: ending forced labor, and providing clean and affordable energy to all. Temple University’s Fox School of Business graciously hosted both the Council’s Jr. Model United Nations Preparatory Conference and the Junior Model United Nations Final Conference.

Jr. Model United Nations Final Conference
Scheduled: May 2020 • Fox School of Business at Temple University

The Jr. Model United Nations Final Conference is a two-day event at which students assume the role of country delegations, tasked with conducting official negotiations on behalf of their designated countries and working with fellow delegates to pass resolutions offering creative and viable solutions to their assigned global issues. 

Important facilitator roles such as Committee Co-Chairs and Secretary General, are offered to high school students, to college students, and Council alumni. Council staff work closely with the Jr. Model United Nations facilitators, preparing them to confidently assume the responsibilities of their roles. By using high school and college students to serve as the conference facilitators, the Council provides middle school participants with exemplary role models, highly experienced in Model United Nations, while also providing the high school students, college students, and Council alumni with leadership development and opportunities to build their relationship with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. 

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to cancel the in-person Final Conference for the 2020 Jr. Model UN program. In response to this cancellation, we decided to include two optional activities for students who had the capacity to finish the program. We asked students to pen a letter to Ambassador Kelly Craft, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Students were asked to convey a short message about their topic of study and why united global action on issues is important to mitigation efforts. Second, students were asked to make a videotaped one to three minute speech to the General Assembly. This project allowed students to practice their writing, rhetoric, and public speaking skills. 

Student Highlights

Due to the COVID-related cancellation of the Final Conference, and in response to the tremendous amount of effort and dedication of our students and faculty advisers, we would like to highlight student-created work. Please use the windows below to access student created projects. 

Recorded 'Opening Statements' from Jr. Model UN Delegates

Optional Assignment to send a Letter to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, Discussing the Importance of Climate Change and Aiding Refugees