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November 14, 2016

Hilton High School hosts 37th Annual Model United Nations Conference

Buses over 30 school districts from as far away as Syracuse and Ithaca rolled up to Hilton High School on a Friday afternoon so 512 students could participate in the 37th Annual Hilton Model United Nations Conference on Nov. 4-5. The student-directed event provides debate opportunities for both new and experienced high school delegates.

Students chaired 18 different committees based on actual UN committees that debate proposals, present position papers and vote on resolutions. Schools select the country/countries they want to represent and delegates prepare before the conference by researching that country’s stand on issues and current problems. Delegates take an active role in committee representing their country while following parliamentary procedures.

In addition to being an opportunity to learn and collaborate with students from other schools, Model UN raises funds for charity. Students sell carnations and compete in “Jar Wars” to see which committee can raise the most money for a charity selected by the keynote speaker. This year’s recipient of $2,290 is Accordia Global Health Foundation, an organization dedicated to establishing, supporting and strengthening African-owned health institutions.

This year's keynote speaker was Dr. Allan Young, a social anthropologist with special interest in indigenous systems of medical beliefs and practices, clinical psychiatry, and psychiatric science. Dr. Young is a professor in the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine, Anthropology and Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

Hilton teacher Annette Wattie has been involved with the Hilton Model U.N. for the past 24 years and has served as advisor for the past seven. "When I started teaching here in Hilton, I didn't even know what Model U.N. was," she said. "When I peeked in the classrooms and saw that the students run everything, I thought I had died and gone to heaven."