MMUN Conferences are international. Chinese student delegations joined us for the first time and were a wonderful addition as they collaborated with students from Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Japan, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and a coast to coast cross section of US students from Hawaii to New York. To date students from several countries have participated in the MMUN conferences.
MMUN is an excellent program for opening dialogue and fostering understanding and cooperation with young people around the world and therefore we are exploring opportunities to open up to the world, to give a greater number of students access as we move to become as international as the organization we model.
The participating schools from around the world have all received notoriety. Beijing, Nanjing and Zhengzhou received extensive local media coverage and in particular from the nationally recognized Chinese television producer Ms. Xinping Li who came to film, for Chinese Educational Television, this important event.
Xinping has directed and produced major productions on western education and has been following the MMUN from its inception. At the 2008 conference, she told us about the interest Chinese students would have in participating in the MMUN and thoughtfully spoke with us about how they could participate.
We always want to inspire students to explore beyond their national borders and with the help of our Asia Relationships Director, Giacomo Forte, we have begun implementing the MMUN program in Chinese schools. When we began working with the China schools we felt that we were making history. Just as the US reestablished diplomatic relationships with China in the 70’s, this was the first time that a Montessori based Model UN program was permitted to be taught as an after school or in school program by the Chinese Educational System. From the start we knew this was going to be an important collaboration between China’s educational system and MMUN. We also believe that this model will open many opportunities for MMUN students on all continents and have already begun work with our European schools to expand the program with a Geneva based MMUN conference, opening the doors to providing an even greater number of students a truly international MMUN experience.
When discussing the program, Giacomo Forte stated, “With the globalization and the rise of new economies it is more important than ever to promote international knowledge, and encourage students to understand and respect their peers from different countries. It just made sense to make the MMUN program available to students from China. Their participation has presented a unique chance to increase and promote understanding and friendship as well as international awareness to all MMUN students through the sharing of ideas, values and experiences.”
The experience had a profound effect on the Chinese participants and has provided them with an understanding that they are global citizens with an opportunity to share their culture with the rest of the world while appreciating the cultures of others.
We are looking forward to the return of our international students and meeting the students from even more countries when they attend next year’s Montessori Model United Nations Conference, demonstrating our commitment to Peace Education and Global Citizenship.