New Canaan High School’s Model UN Club promotes a non-U.S.-centric worldview where participating students debate nuanced issues that show them a different perspective and help them become “global citizens,” according to one of the team’s leaders. A central question facing Model UN members is not just “How can I become a good U.S. citizen?” but “How can I become a good global citizen?” according to NCHS senior Melissa Rizzo, who joined Model UN as a fifth-grader at the Zurich International School and continued in New Canaan when she arrived at Saxe Middle School as an eighth grader. A secretary general on the team overseeing three Model UN captions and its executive board, Rizzo said she and others on the team “are exposed to a diverse range of global issues and cultures.” “
“Particularly in The Hague, sitting adjacent to 150 students who are from all over the world, you truly see the different cultures and how it comes into play in debate and how it is important to have an entity such as the UN that addresses issues—global issues—in a way that is individual and productive for each nation,” she told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.
The comments came prior to the school board voting unanimously to approve an overnight field trip for the NCHS Model UN program. Rizzo in delivering her presentation was joined at the podium by faculty advisor Paul Phillips. Model UN is a program that helps develop research, critical thinking, persuasion, collaboration and public speaking skills, Rizzo said.