The 15th annual Maine Model United Nations Conference (MeMUNC) will take place Tuesday through Thursday, May 14-16, at the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Gorham.
Planned and staffed by USM students, the conference begins at 6 p.m., Tuesday, with opening ceremonies and the keynote address by international-relations expert Susan Goodwillie Stedman. More than 450 middle and high school students from around Maine and Northern New England will participate in the conference. Closing ceremonies are at noon, Thursday.
This year’s theme for the Maine Model United Nations Conference is youth empowerment and the rights of women and girls. The theme is especially fitting in the aftermath of the shooting of Malala Yousafzi, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for her activism in a region where girls are banned from attending school. Malala recently has been able to return to her studies after a long rehabilitation.
The keynote speaker, Susan Goodwillie Stedman of Westport Island, Maine, is director emeritus for Refugees International in Washington D.C. Stedman has been active in the international-relations community her entire life, also serving with the Ford Foundation in Africa and New York. In addition, she led the Goodwillie Group, an international consulting group based in Boston. She is the widow of Bruce Stedman, a former chief administrative officer to the United Nations.
Other speakers at the conference include Maine Attorney General Janet Mills; Joshua Cooper, director of the Hawaii Institute for Human Rights and University of Hawaii lecturer; Dr. Robert Zuber, director of Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict; Leila Percy, former Maine state representative; Nano Chatfield, former chairwoman of the Board for the Tanzanian Children's fund; and USM student Timothy Stretton, MeMUNC XV secretary general.
During the conference, participating high school delegates will debate topics, acting as representatives of countries around the world. The discussions, ranging from human trafficking and arranged marriage to the militarization of the Arctic and natural resource exploitation in Africa, bring large scale international issues to the students' own backyards.
The internationally orientated education that students receive throughout the year from MeMUNC staff members and global educators helps to fill a vital gap in Maine's educational curriculum, which lacks in global competency.
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Participating High Schools
Biddeford High School
Bonny Eagle High School, Buxton
Casco Bay High School, Portland
Colchester High School, Colchester, Vt.
Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb
Deering High School, Portland
Foxcroft Academy, Dover-Foxcroft
Freeport High School
Gorham Middle School
Gorham High School
Greater Portland Christian School, South Portland
Greely High School, Cumberland
John Bapst Memorial High School, Bangor
Kents Hill High School, Kents Hill
McAuley High School, Portland
Morse High School, Bath
Newburyport High School, Newburyport, Ma.
North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth
Orono High School
Portland High School
Scarborough High School
The New School, Kennebunk
Waynflete School, Portland
Yarmouth High School