Affecting change globally

Hope Schulte , News Writer

Xavier High School students are using argumentation skills to find ways to affect change across the globe. 

The Iowa Youth Symposium took place from October 22 to October 23 at the State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa. It was hosted by the Iowa High School Model United Nations organization and the University of Northern Iowa. Students from over 40 high schools across Iowa joined together to discuss political, social, economic and scientific topics in order to make formal resolutions for addressing these issues. The students’ final resolutions are sent to the United Nations in New York for UN delegations to read the proposals. 

This past spring, Xavier Model UN members participated in the 2019 Spring Conference for the opportunity to be chosen to participate in the Iowa Youth Symposium. For many of the Xavier students and faculty, the symposium shows that the youth of today can make a big difference worldwide. 

“It [the Iowa Youth Symposium] means a lot to me. The more I study politics and international relations, the more I realize that we can never tackle large global problems, like climate change, without an energized and organized youth movement, led by the students participating in this Youth Symposium,” Mr. Matthew Farrell, the moderator of Model UN at Xavier, said. 

A group of seniors pose outside the Iowa Statehouse for the Model UN Youth Symposium on October 22. Matthew Farrell Photo.

The Iowa Youth Symposium has been an annual event for the past seven years and this was the second year that Xavier attended. Students are representatives of the U.S. and bring in their own viewpoints for each topic. Some of the topics discussed at the conference were human genetic engineering, international trade agreements, climate change, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Xavier students were able to get involved in their various committees by drafting amendments, collaborating with other students and speaking for and against amendments. The students also had voting rights to decide whether or not drafted amendments passed. 

“Xavier students can become involved through the position paper creation process. Even though it can be intimidating to speak formally in front of other students you may not know, it’s a great learning process. Once you are comfortable with it, it’s actually quite fun. It’s also great to be able  to  get  to know the other students,” senior delegate Madeline Murphy said. 

In order to perform in next year’s Iowa Youth Symposium, Model UN students will participate in the 2020 Spring Conference from April 2 to 3 at the University of Northern Iowa.