, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 3, 2014

Model UN team launches fundraiser for NYC trip

NEWBURYPORT — Students of Newburyport High School are reaching out for donations to their Model United Nations team’s trip to a New York City conference later this month. Working alongside more than 1,000 students from schools around the world, the 25 Newburyport students will represent Brazil and Sri Lanka in mock debates and UN proceedings.

The Global Classrooms International Model UN conference is a prestigious event, featuring an opening ceremony in the real UN General Assembly. The team of hopes to raise $6,000 through the personal fundraising website That’s just a fraction of the $625 per student that the conference, lodging and transportation will cost.

They’ve raised $640 so far, primarily from one generous donor.

Though the conference itself lasts only a few days, the students work for months in advance to understand their “nation” in-depth. Students research trade patterns, international history, domestic politics and more to create a convincing simulation of the country’s delegation, according to Matt LaChapelle, the team’s primary faculty advisor.

“Throughout the whole process, the kids are trying to write a resolution, but they’re trying to do so to keep Brazil’s interests in mind,” LaChapelle said. “They need to know who their trade partners are, and who their historic rivals are, so they don’t make an unrealistic alliance.”

Students who don’t prepare risk losing face: LaChapelle recalled one notorious blunder when a team representing Pakistan attempted to ally with India despite the nations’ decades-old rivalry. On the other hand, awards are given to both teams and individuals for accomplishing their nation’s goals, arguing persuasively and maintaining a realistic portrayal of their country.

The team will be split into committees based on their country and areas of interest, with various students having representing Brazil and Sri Lanka’s interests in matters like nuclear proliferation, world health and international security.

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