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March 22, 2016 3:47 pm

Israeli School Kids to Debate Syrian Civial War, Simulate Air Strike on Iranian Military Facilities, as Part of Model UN Program

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Young Ambassadors School, Petah Tikvah. Photo: Steven Aiello.

Young Ambassadors School, Petah Tikvah. Photo: Steven Aiello.

Next month, Israeli students will participate in a day-long Model United Nations program in Petah Tikvah, in central Israel. What is “special” about this conference however, according to its organizer, is the age of some of its participants.

Steven Aiello, head of the Model UN program at the Young Ambassadors School, told The Algemeiner that while most participants are 8th-10th graders, at this year’s April 10 meeting, a separate program for much younger kids will be run, in Hebrew.

“This is the first time to my knowledge that Israeli 5th and 6th graders will be participating in a Model UN conference,” Aiello said.

The younger students will devote their session to debating the conflict in Syria.

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Other sessions at the conference will include a simulated Human Rights Council, looking at minorities’ rights in Saudi Arabia, and an Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting, examining Al-Shabab, the East African Islamist terrorist group.

“There will also be a Crisis Committee for more advanced students,” Aiello added, “which means that we give them a scenario and then introduce real-time updates every now and then to make the simulation more realistic and challenging. This year the scenario will be one where Israel, frustrated at the US’s rapprochement with Iran, makes covert arrangements with Saudi Arabia to use its airspace for strikes on military sites in Iran. The goal is for students to represent their own country’s interests, while trying to best address the issue or conflict in question.”

The committees will be tasked with producing written resolutions that express whatever solution a two-thirds majority supports.

The Young Ambassadors School is an extracurricular program run under the auspices of the Petah Tikvah municipality. Its conferences include Jewish and Arab students representing (this year) countries such as Somalia, Iran and Israel, and competing in different committees, where the top two delegates in each committee receive an award, as does the top delegate from each participating school. It also runs programs on leadership, diplomacy and journalism.

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