The Great Lakes Invitational Conference Association is dedicated to putting on conferences to expand global understanding in the minds of today’s youth. Our conferences provide high school students with a chance to experience a unique simulation of diplomacy and compromise in action. Participation calls upon students to confront numerous topics foremost in the international community, and attempt to resolve issues that are far outside their own personal experiences. In addition to learning substantive content regarding the agenda topics, students improve a variety of skills including research, writing, public speaking, consensus building, negotiation, teamwork, and objective critical thinking. We hope that by giving these students hands-on experience in these areas, they can grow to become more mature, responsible leaders for the future.
The Model United Nations experience provides a rare opportunity for high school students to engage in high-level synthesis and evaluation of the topics. Students become much more aware of national and international politics and current events. While engaged in the process, they are achieving core objectives in the Social Studies Curriculum, and also improve understanding in the sciences, particularly ecology, and English Language Arts competencies.
Not all Model UN Conferences are alike. One of GLICA’s biggest assets is its large and long-standing volunteer staff. Unlike many college-sponsored conferences, GLICA staff volunteer for many years beyond their college years, sometimes for several decades. The steady service of the staff members provides continuity to our process, and allows delegates to interact with experienced educators in committee.
At GLICA we use a very delegate-centered approach in our sessions. Our goal is to have students direct the flow of their committee work in the most democratic method possible. Our rules of parliamentary procedure are intended to be a tool for the delegates to use to make decisions about how to proceed on the topics. Some committees opt to use the rules rigorously to enact their policies, other committees elect to consensus build, and use the rules only to take action on working papers. Regardless of the committee, the rules are for the delegates to use, not a tool for the staff to control the flow of the work.
Since we use a delegate-centered approach, committee staff is there to referee the discussion and keep the delegates engaged and working. Our committee staff is quite experienced, the average chairperson having staffed committees for three or four years before leading a committee. Chairpersons and Legal Counsels not only usher the committee procedurally, they assist delegates in revising working papers to improve their writing skills. Chairpersons and Rapporteurs also are shepherds of the topics, guiding the delegates to explore the various facets of the issues, and engage in in-depth discourse.