Never did I think my Peace Corps service would involve Model United Nations, but here I am.
Last year, the previous volunteers hosted a national Youth Peace Summit for Moroccan youth that brought young people together from around the country for trainings, workshops, and discussions on leadership, conflict resolution, and civic engagement. As a piece of this, they held a one-day model UN that for many was the highlight, allowing them to practice research, critical thinking, public speaking, and civil discourse around pressing issues like …Ebola and Daesh (Isis). We knew this coming into our town, and many youth had expressed interest in doing another Model UN.
So, I talked to other Peace Corps Volunteers who also had interest in doing something with Model UN (many of these volunteers had youth in their community that participated in the Youth Peace Summit). We organized and put together a Model UN curriculum to be taught in Dar Chebabs as a club, with weekly meetings. I had zero contribution to the development of the curriculum, but I did spend a lot of time planning the Model UN Training of Teachers (TOT) that took place in our town.
The community donated the space to hold the sessions, the Red Crescent in town donated the second floor of their building for us to sleep in, and the Dar Talib (kind of like a boarding facilities for boys in surrounding villages) donated mattresses and tables. We had overwhelming support the community, and I was so humbled by the efforts of everyone to make this a successful event.
Volunteers from across the country and their Moroccan counterparts came here to attend the 3-day TOT and left with the motivation to implement Model UN clubs in their towns, as we did here. We now have a group of 20 dedicated students that meet every Saturday afternoon. The course includes the following: history and purpose of the UN, world geography, news journalism and bias, research skills, parliamentary procedure, preparing a speech, public speaking, writing a position paper and a resolution, and final preparations for a Model UN Conference. Embedding with the curriculum, students learn to respect other cultures and nations, learn negotiation skills, and critical thinking in a new and fun way.
Our Model UN classes are training close to 150 Moroccan youth for Morocco’s first national, Arabic-language Model United Nations conference in January 2016. Local communities and Peace Corps are providing facilities, materials, labor, and some funds, but we still need to fundraise the cost of travel, food, and internet that would otherwise prohibit students from participating in this valuable experience.
If you are interested in donating, the official Peace Corps donation link that can be found here:
No donation is too small! US $5 will buy internet access for a whole class (of 20 kids) for one session, US $10 will buy breakfast for the week for one person, and US $20 will buy one-way travel for one participant from the furthest location to the conference. Also, donations made via the Peace Corps website are tax-deductible. Thank you for considering to support this enriching educational opportunity for committed, deserving Moroccan youth!