Hundreds of Chicago Middle and High School Students Debate World Issues at 10th Annual Global Classrooms Model UN Conference

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Participants from 27 Chicago Public Schools simulate the work of the UN


Ten years of partnership with UNA-USA has allowed Chicago to be one of 24 cities worldwide with the Global Classrooms program in its schools.

More than 500 middle and high school students from 27 Chicago Public Schools are attending the United Nations Association of the USA’s (UNA-USA) Global Classrooms® Chicago Model UN Conference at the Illinois Institute of Technology today. The event will feature prominent UN expert Gillian Sorensen, and discussion topics for students that will cover a wide range of important issues, including: the protection of women and children; refugees and infectious diseases; and multilingual and heritage language education.

Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third largest public school district, marks its tenth year as partner in implementing the city’s Global Classrooms program. The popularity of Model UN simulations in the U.S. has grown steadily at both the high school and middle schools levels. However, most simulations are sponsored and conducted by private academic institutions. With the expansion of the Global Classrooms program over the last decade, UNA-USA brings the experience to an increasing number of public schools and their students.

Jean-Claude Brizard, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools said, “Ten years of partnership with UNA-USA has allowed Chicago to be one of 24 cities worldwide with the Global Classrooms program in its schools. Our students benefit immeasurably from their participation in Model UN as it helps develop their analytical and persuasive skills, and prepares them to become engaged world citizens.”

The Global Classrooms Chicago Model UN Conference is made possible thanks to the support of student volunteers from area universities including University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, and DePaul University. The program makes a lasting impact by cultivating global literacy, life skills, and attitudes necessary for active citizenship, showing that students deeply care about the world outside their local communities.

“Today, students from Chicago Public Schools are simulating real-world situations that face the UN every day,” said UNA-USA Executive Director Patrick Madden. “We are seeing emerging leaders in action, working together to solve global problems.”

Now in its thirteenth year, Global Classrooms annually engages more than 100,000 participants from 25 countries at conferences, in classrooms, and through online activities.

Watch the Global Classrooms Model UN Documentary “Decorum” at

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Joseph Catapano

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), a program of the UN Foundation, is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire and mobilize the American people to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations. UNA-USA works to accomplish its mission through its national network of chapters, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events. UNA-USA and the UN Foundation create the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world. For more information on UNA-USA, visit

Global Classrooms is UNA-USA’s innovative educational program that engages middle school and high school students in an exploration of current world issues through interactive simulations and curricular materials. Global Classrooms cultivates literacy, life skills and the attitudes necessary for active citizenship. Created in 1999, the program bridges the gap in the Model UN community between experienced programs and traditionally underserved schools worldwide. For more information on Global Classrooms, visit

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit

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