Ha-KUNA matata!

No worries! Kadence is here to provide the down-low on the Kentucky United Nations Assembly

To teenagers, being a diplomat seems an outrageous concept.  However, in recent years, kids from grades six to twelve have become representatives from countries all over the world.  How?  Through a nationwide assembly enabling students to hone their political skills.  In Kentucky, it is known as KUNA—Kentucky United Nations Assembly.

The YMCA created this model United Nations as a way for high school and middle school students to learn about countries around the world as well as create solutions for severe problems that country may face. Junior assembly is open to grades six to eight; Senior Assembly is open to grades nine to twelve. The conference lasts 3 days.  On the first night, students conduct what is called a Global Village.  This is the simulation of each nation.  Each representative dons the native attire of his or her school’s chosen country.  In addition, the students teach the others about their particular country through the display made before the assembly.  Students also present the proposal written in order to resolve a national crisis in his or her respective country.  The next two days involve delegation members to discuss problems with senior officials elected from the previous conference.

Beechwood’s 2011 presentation in the Global Village for Malawi

Beechwood became involved in Kuna in 2011 with advisor Jenny Eskridge. She says that KUNA has many great things to offer. “KUNA was started here,” she said, “as a way to give middle schools students something to do, since there’s not much offered for middle schoolers.” Compared to the first year, which roughly had ten students, this year’s KUNA has forty-seven students representing three different countries.  In addition, Ms. Eskridge believes it gives students a way to become mature by dealing with very mature issues, such as shark finning. “The meetings and committees are serious,” she said. “It gives [students] the opportunity to talk about real world problems.”  That’s not all. According to Ms. Eskridge, students also have a chance to showcase their individual talents, such as dancing on the International Stage(a part of the opening ceremony where schools compete) or drawing for the Global Village display.  Having been involved in KUNA that first year, I can say that it is worthwhile. I am not the only student, though.  Claire Bickers, a freshman who has attended KUNA twice, stated, “I love KUNA. It has really helped me, and I really hope that I can do in high school also.”  In answer to Claire’s hope of a Senior assembly, Ms. Eskridge also stated that she is open to supervising as long as high schoolers are interested in participating and doing the work. 

There is no experience like KUNA, or any of the other mock United Nations.  Each is unique, but each has similar benefits.  They offer skills that any person can use: argumentative and acculturative.  It gives students the chance to become exposed to things they would not be exposed to before.  And it is this skill that will help student in years to come.







Kadence Baker


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