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Letter to the Editor re: Westchester Model UN Conference (WestMUNC)

May 27, 2011

The following letter from Marcia Brewster and Jeanne Betsock Stillman was published on May 27, 2011 in The Rivertowns Enterprise, which reaches the Westchester communities of Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Irvington:

To the Editor:

 We have recently learned that the 2011 Westchester Model UN Conference, which normally would have been held in March, was shut down by Hastings High School administration and did not take place, allegedly for disciplinary reasons.   Surely such a popular and long-standing program could have been saved, through involving community volunteers and parents even if staff were not available to supervise.  Not only does Hastings field its own Model UN team, but students organize this conference, giving them additional management experience.

 WestMUNC, as it is known, has had a 34-year tradition of building leadership and international awareness among high school students in Hastings and the schools they invite to participate.  Up to 400 students have participated annually, with notable speakers such as Ambassador Richard Holbrook.  This program involves students from the 8th through 12th grades and has touched the lives of thousands of young people.  In an era of globalization, the kind of experience that Model UN provides builds leadership skills, public speaking ability, knowledge of US policy and policy from the perspectives of other nations, in relation to the one international institution where all come together: the United Nations.  Model UN can be a building block for college admissions in many program areas.

While reiterating our disappointment, we urge that the 35th WestMUNC take place on schedule, in March 2012 and we would like to work together with the program.  We write as president of the United Nations Association of Westchester and the UNA of the Southern New York State Division.  We are both Hastings residents.

Sincerely,

 Marcia M. Brewster (UNA Westchester)

Jeanne Betsock Stillman (UNA Southern NY State Division)

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