MUN (Model United Nations)

From its inception, the Model United Nations program at Woodstock has been a popular student activity. During the spring of 2004, Student Body Co-President Sradda Thapa investigated the concept, recruited teachers to be advisors, and found external conferences for students to attend. The following fall, students and staff chaperones were sent to three conferences: two separate Model UN conferences in Delhi (sponsored by Ryan International Schools and by the British School) and the Harvard Model Congress in Bangkok. The students and staff who attended these conferences returned to school eager to organize the first Woodstock School MUN conference in March 2005. Woodstock students have participated in conferences sponsored by Harvard University in Bangkok and Singapore, at the Cairo American College in Egypt, the Amman Baccalaureate School in Jordan, in Thailand and in Italy as well as at and schools in Delhi and Chennai.

The Model UN program has become an intrinsic part of the Woodstock School experience. The conferences give students the motivation to study practical aspects of politics and government that they usually experience only in theory, and also exposure to a simulation of the political process -- meeting, negotiating, and mediating. They are expected to prepare and present public speeches, both formal and informal, and learn the importance and relevance of formal meeting protocol. They are encouraged to craft written documents that reflect not only their own positions on issues, but also incorporate the ideas of others. Thus they discover first-hand the importance of fluency in both spoken and written language, and the necessity for careful preparation and clear thinking. The MUN program provides Woodstock students with an opportunity to live out the beliefs and values that bring us together. It fosters awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and ideas of others; it promotes peaceful discussion of world problems and cooperation in resolving them. It provides exciting contexts in which students use critical thinking and communication skills that are taught in the classroom. It has also inspired some to investigate international relations as a career choice.

In 2009, Sradda Thapa, one of the driving forces behind the establishment of Woodstock's MUN, addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations about the impact of conflict on youth's access to quality education.

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