The 2013 Jerry Shestack Model UN Conference on the Rule of Law, using the Global Classroom format of the UNA-USA, took place on March 2, 2013 at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. We sought to engage students from five high schools in greater Philadelphia around two fundamental questions that carry global weight:

  1. Can youth play a constructive role in the mainstreaming of the rule of law as envisioned and propagated by the World Justice Project (WJP)?
  2. What are five key recommendations that the youth of Philadelphia would suggest to the leadership of the WJP to improve better scores on the Rule of Law Index for specific countries?

The first step in the process (as it will be again in 2014) was training and preparation, in advance of the Model UN itself. In 2013, some schools made the Model UN lessons and preparation part of the curriculum for a particular class, while others incorporated it as a club or extracurricular activity. Each participating student role-played as a representative of one of the organizations that make up the WJP; the first question required a reflection on the role of youth in civic organizations and led ideally to a well-reasoned request or demand for a voice in the affairs of the WJP. For the second question, each school or each team studied the conditions in one country and made a formal report to the board of the WJP.

After taking part in the training sessions, students attended the conference itself. At the conference, where the school teams congregated, the request for youth participation was formalized.The second question was handled by comparing recommendations, improving language, negotiating relative rankings, allowing specificity of circumstances to be weighed, and finalizing a compilation of resolutions.

You can read a report about this model UN in our March 2013 Newsletter. Some pictures from the day are available here.

2014 Jerry Shestack Model UN Conference on the Rule of Law:

The upcoming Jerry Shestack Model UN on the Rule of law will be held on March 1, 2014 at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (in Philadelphia).

The topic and focus in 2014 will be on the impact and use of social media. Preceding the Conference, we provide training to the participating students. That training will be made available at your school, or can be organized for individual students via chatroom or Skype, if so desired. This year, we are going to focus on how social media can be harnessed as a tool to combat various transgressions on the rule of law. Through cases studies of social movements where social media made a defining impact towards their success, we hope to empower the students that they, too, can be the nexus of change by using tools that they are already familiar with.

After these lessons, the students will all attend as delegates to the conference hosted at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

A handbook with background and specific information about this event is available here.

Interested teachers, parents or high schools students can email.

UNA-GP is still seeking experts/volunteers to help with mentoring and fundraising. If interested, please email.