Governor’s School Model United Nations

Since 2014, The Richmond Forum has been proud to sponsor incredible keynote speakers for the Governor’s School Model United Nations held at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. Each March, 550 student delegates from schools across the Richmond region and around the state, convene for “GSMUN,” the area’s largest Model UN conference.

The partnership between The Richmond Forum and GSMUN began when a student attending The Richmond Forum with his mother saw an opportunity. Matthew King, who was slated to be Secretary-General of GSMUN XVII, recognized that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s appearance at The Richmond Forum would be on the same weekend as his upcoming Model UN. He contacted The Forum and we worked with his Secretariat to help them draft an invitation to Prime Minister Brown, which we relayed, and which he eagerly accepted.

It was the beginning of a wonderful partnership which is made possible by subscriber contributions to the Ralph Krueger Memorial Fund.

The following Forum speakers have addressed the Governor’s School Model United Nations:

2014:Prime Minister Gordon Brown (UK)
2015:Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
2016:Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Australia)
2017:Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei
Prime Minister Ehud Barak
2018:Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
2019:To Be Announced
ESSAY

Governor’s School Model United Nations

By Matthew T. King. Originally printed in the March 15, 2014 program book.

Earlier today, Gordon Brown spoke to the 500 student delegates participating in the 17th annual Governor’s School Model United Nations (GSMUN XVII) here in Richmond. On behalf of all the middle and high school students who attended and staffed the conference, we would like to thank Mr. Brown as well as the generous sponsors, subscribers, and staff of The Richmond Forum for a deeply inspiring opportunity.

Model United Nations, an activity that involves tens of thousands of students from middle school to college, simulates the United Nations. Interested students attend Model UN conferences such as GSMUN and are transformed into delegates representing countries from across the globe. Before attending a conference, delegates research their country’s stance on global issues, such as nuclear proliferation and human trafficking. Then, during the conference, they seek to pass resolutions highlighting a plan of action to combat the issue. In recent years, the Model UN umbrella has expanded beyond the organs of the United Nations System (such as the UN Security Council) to include historical simulations, joint-crisis committees, and other intergovernmental organizations such as the Arab League and European Union. Through Model UN, young people learn the art of diplomacy, debate global issues, enhance their public speaking and research skills, develop collaborative solutions, and engage with the world around them.

GSMUN XVII offers committees, such as UNESCO within the traditional United Nations System, as well as some innovative committees including: the Afghan National Assembly, the Revolutionary War joint-crisis between the Second Continental Congress and the British Parliament, the Rio Olympics Committee, the Facebook Board of Directors, and a Spanish-immersion committee exploring the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

In keeping with the conference motto, “Take up the Torch,” GSMUN XVII pledges to help build civil society in Afghanistan as U.S. and ISAF forces move to withdraw by the end of 2014. GSMUN’s official charity is the Afghan Institute of Learning, founded in 1995 by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi. Under the oppression of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, Dr. Yacoobi ran 80 underground schools for over 3,000 girls. Today, the Afghan Institute of Learning provides education and healthcare for the women and children of Afghanistan, a mission that epitomizes the goals of the GSMUN conference.

GSMUN is proud to have been able to partner with The Richmond Forum to make this one of our most memorable conferences ever.

Matthew T. King
Secretary-General, GSMUN XVII
Matthew is a senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School and has been attending The Richmond Forum with his mother for four seasons.