On Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6, local students participated in the Greater Saint Louis Model United Nations (GSLMUN) conference, which was anchored at Burroughs and broadcast on Zoom. Due to the pandemic, the annual The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN) trip was canceled for 2021, and the JBS MUN group decided to form their own conference — an idea that had been floated prior to the pandemic.
The student-initiated and student-led conference sparked the interest of six other local schools, with students ranging from middle school to high school tuning in remotely. Two prominent St. Louis issues were discussed: the Delmar Divide and airport privatization. The conference was split into two forums, the Commission of Health, Education, and Welfare (CHEW), which discussed the Delmar Divide, and the Commission of Economic Development (CED), whose main topic focus was on airport privatization in St. Louis.
The keynote speaker for the first day of the GSLMUN conference was Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop and Delmar DivINe, a $100 million real estate initiative on Delmar Boulevard. Ms. Clark offered insight and advice on solving Saint Louis issues to the nearly 50 people who listened to her speak over Zoom. On day two, Jeff Smith, a former state senator, college professor, charter school founder, and progressive candidate for the US House in 2004, talked to MUN attendees about his experience in politics and the prison system.
Although the MUN team hopes to be able to return to THIMUN soon, the goal is to retain GLSMUN as well — the conference brought new participants into the Model UN process, and opened new opportunities for mentoring, collaboration, research, program development and leadership. It also offered ways to better understand, and have an impact on, issues facing the St. Louis community. For a more detailed recap of the conference, here's a magazine produced by the GSLMUN press team.