KSU hosts middle school mock UN

Joe Harrington

Kent State became the home of the United Nations’ General Assembly yesterday. The members debated various world issues, such as terrorism, AIDS, human rights and environmental protection and came up with solutions to most of the problems.

The College of Education, Health and Human Services and the Center for International and Intercultural Education co-sponsored the second annual Global Issues Seminar, in which more than 150 middle school students from 10 counties in Northeast Ohio were invited to the Kent campus for the day-long event. The seminar acts as a mock United Nations and shows students how the international organization handles different critical issues.

“Students are excited because they have become specialists in their country,” said professor Bette Brooks, co-chairwoman of the seminar from the integrated social studies education program.

The seventh and eighth grade students were chosen by their middle school teachers because they showed an interest in global issues, said Jerry Brodsky, the other co-chairman of the event.

The flags of the countries being represented filled the Kiva, which resembled the actual United Nations headquarters in New York.

“It’s an active and meaningful way to get kids involved in social studies,” Brooks said.

Students broke into small focus groups instructed by various Kent State faculty members.

Some of the instructors were international scholars, such as Adel Henein from Egypt. Henein teaches English as a foreign language in Egypt, but for the seminar, he helped students learn about his and other countries. Henein said the students are learning more from the program than they ever could in a book.

“The international students allow the (middle school students) to feel like they’re at a true international event,” said Linda Robertson, director of International and Intercultural studies.

After meeting in small groups, the students returned to the Kiva in and debated their countries’ issues. Each group had to present a short statement about every issue. The students then voted on solutions to the issues, with every country receiving votes based on the country’s actual gross domestic product.

Brodsky said the goal of the voting was to teach students how much the world depends on the richest and most powerful countries, such as the United States.

The students’ final opinions and solutions on the world issues will be sent to a United Nations representative, Brodsky said.

Contact College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].