High School Students Arrive on Campus March 30-April 1 for Model United Nations

March 28, 2022


  • The 46th Model United Nations will be March 30-April 1.
  • Since the start of the program, more than 2,000 Winthrop students and 10,000 high school students have participated in the Model UN conferences.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University’s Model United Nations program will hold its first in-person gathering since 2019 for its 46th anniversary, March 30-April 1.

Fifty Winthrop students will debate in a cultural event on Wednesday night, March 30, while 200 delegates from 20 high schools from around the Carolinas representing 60 countries will debate during the day on March 31 and April 1. 

The cultural event keynote speaker is Professor Emeritus Chris Van Aller, who recently retired after 31 years teaching political science at Winthrop and 25 years serving as director of the Model United Nations program. He will speak on “The Model UN Program and Global Literacy” at a March 31 luncheon in McBryde Hall.

As the Winthrop conference celebrates more than four decades of existence, it stands out for its ability to raise awareness about the cutting-edge issues of our time, said Professor Jennifer Leigh Disney, chair of the Department of Political Science. She recently took over as the new director of the Model United Nations program, which involves teaching the college class and advising the students who run the conference. 

“This is an incredible time to be teaching this course,” Disney said, adding that the March 30 college debate will focus on the global crisis now taking place with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

There are students in the class with direct family ties to both member states, Disney noted, making this year’s discussion particularly poignant.

This year’s Secretariat is under the student leadership of Ellery McNeill, secretary general; Stephanie Martinez, director general; and Jade Jones, coordinator general. The three have worked with Disney to organize the conference, contact the high schools and work on logistics for the three-day event, as well as coordinate Winthrop students’ participation in the conference.

With Disney taking over as the new Model UN director and the selection of an all-female student leadership team, the group selected this year’s theme as “Multilateral Empowerment of Women and other Marginalized Populations.” The team also added a special committee, the Commission on the Status of Women.

The Winthrop Model UN is unique in that it was the first program of its kind to combine participation of college students with high school students. The Winthrop students, who enroll in the PLSC 260: United Nations course, are each assigned a country. Throughout the spring semester, the college students study and debate issues commonly discussed in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Since the start of the program, more than 2,000 Winthrop students and 10,000 high school students have participated in the Model UN conferences.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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