It’s been said that in order to fully understand our own culture we must first completely immerse ourselves in another culture
Staten Island, NY (Vocus) July 29, 2010
A group of ten Staten Island Academy students will be traveling to Beijing, China to compete in an International Model United Nations Conference from August 5th – 8th. The students, all Upper School students, are members of Staten Island Academy’s Model U.N. Delegation which annually participates in the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
This is the first year that the students have been invited to attend the Beijing conference which, like ILMUNC, is an academic simulation of the United Nations. The goal of the conference is to educate students about the inner workings of this international organization. The participants are required to represent one of the United Nation's 192 member states, and to be able to argue that country's point of view, articulate its foreign policies and debate students who will be arguing other nations' policies. Participating students spend weeks reading, researching and immersing themselves in the culture, politics and finances of the nations that they are asked to represent. The Academy students will have the opportunity to meet and work with their peers from all over Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
“I think that this is just the most wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Diane Hulse, the Head of School at Staten Island Academy. “This sort of international travel and the interaction with students from other cultures will broaden their minds in a way that few other experiences can. I’m so proud of their willingness to step out of their comfort zone and take on the challenge of traveling half way around the world to represent our school. Part of our newly adopted diversity mission states that : ‘We are committed to a program that deepens understanding of our multicultural world and affirms inclusivity in and outside the classroom’ I am delighted to see our mission become a reality.”
Following the conference the students, who will be accompanied by two Academy faculty members, will spend an additional eight days touring Beijing and the surrounding countryside. They will visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The Summer Palace and the ancient city of Hutong. Their sightseeing tour will culminate with an overnight campout near the Great Wall of China where they will awaken to see the sun rise over this world famous landmark.
“It’s been said that in order to fully understand our own culture we must first completely immerse ourselves in another culture,” said Isla Ng, one of the students. “My classmates and I have visited a number of other cities such as London, Paris and Rome and, while they were exciting and culturally very different from New York, we found our American way of living and thinking to be fairly well supported there. Now, for the first time, we will be venturing into a country with a totally different social, political and cultural ideology. China will not only be an educational experience, it will be an anthropological one as well.”
During their time in China the students will also learn some Mandarin, make Chinese dumplings, take lessons in the martial arts and how to haggle with merchants at a local market. They will also attend a tea tasting and see a Chinese cultural presentation.
They will return to Staten Island on August 17th.
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