GORHAM — The 2024 Maine Model United Nations Conference — with over 380 high school student participants — began Wednesday, May 8.

The three-day conference, held at the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus, brought students from schools across the state (along with one from New Hampshire) to debate pressing international issues including: maternal health, environmental justice, disinformation and its effects on societal polarization, and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure. The keynote address during the Wednesday opening ceremonies featured USM’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Georita Frierson.

This year marks 25 years since the Maine Model United Nations Conference began. On April 11, members of the USM leadership team visited the state capitol, where the Maine Senate issued a congratulatory sentiment for MeMUNC’s 25th anniversary. State Senators Jill Duson of Portland and Westbrook, and Stacy Brenner of Gorham and Scarborough, met with the leadership team and spoke to the importance of the conference before awarding them a certificate acknowledging 25 years of operation.

MeMUNC is run by University students enrolled in an upper-level political science course taught by professors Tim Ruback and Rebecca Davis Gibbons. The students select committee topics, write detailed background guides, and moderate debate among the high school participants during the conference. In addition, a leadership team of university students help direct and organize the conference.

This year, MeMUNC student leaders include USM Senior Yasmin Idow as secretary general and Junior Olivia DuFour as the deputy secretary-general. Other members of the leadership team focus on public relations and social media, publications, fundraising, operations, delegate affairs, and running a crisis scenario within the UN Security Council.

Twenty-four high schools participated in the 2024 Maine Model UN Conference; delegations ranged in size from two delegates from the New School to 51 delegates from Deering High School.


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