GARLAND, Texas–Seventeen ILTexas middle school students from ILTexas Garland and Keller K-8 received Best, Honorable, and Outstanding Delegate awards at the Texas Model United Nations Regional Summit on Saturday, December 3.  

The summit took place at ILTexas Garland High School where over 300 students from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area schools attended to debate issues on the countries they represented. The event was in partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas which sponsors the YMCA Model UN program in Texas. 

Model United Nations is “a geopolitical simulation where students are assigned a role as a delegate of a given country and are tasked with representing that country’s positions and arguments on a topic of global importance,” according to its website

Over 120 ILTexas students participated in the summit, including ILTexas Lancaster, Keller, and Garland K-8 schools, as well as ILTexas Garland and Keller-Saginaw High Schools. 

Maria Viera-Williams, who serves as the Director of International Student Affairs, Student Engagement, and Global Impact at ILTexas, emphasized the importance of Model UN for building students’ leadership skills. 

“What the students are going to be learning in Model United Nations is how to research, how to present a side, and how to debate with respect,” she said. “What this does is that it gives them a path on how to reason . . . [and] the more you do with your mind, the better you get, and the better you practice your skills.”

Debates were separated into Model UN Committees where teams argued for or against issues affecting the country their team represented. Topics included the war in Ukraine, food shortages, wildlife trafficking, and reproductive healthcare in developing countries, among others. A closing ceremony was held for both middle and high school teams where awards were given.

Minh Nguyen, an eighth grade student at ILTexas Garland K-8, was among the Honorable Delegate award recipients. Nguyen represented the Democratic Republic of Congo where he debated for providing funding for language immersion for students in West Africa.

“I think that the most helpful skill out of Model UN is learning how to be a diplomat,” he said.  “That skill essentially means to be able to negotiate into gaining something for yourself or your country, while not exposing any weaknesses to yourself or your country.”

Amir Smith, a 10th grade student at ILTexas Keller-Saginaw High School, served as the Junior Under Secretary of Conference for the event, where he helped oversee the debate activities. 

“Model UN is coming together as a whole to create solutions, whether that be helping solve world hunger, or food insecurity,” he said. “Once I came to Model UN, I found other people that wanted to cooperate and come up with solutions to real world problems, and issues that I'm actually interested in,” he added. 

“I really love it.”

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