The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

Shaping young minds: More on Model UN recent guest speaker events

On Feb. 8, the student-led Bellarmine Model UN program hosted Dr. Etga Ugur. Acting as an Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, Dr. Ugur gave a presentation and answered questions regarding the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. For more context and information about the violence happening in the Gaza Strip region, read Ariana Randquist’s “Update on the Israeli-Hamas War.”

Similarly, on Feb. 15, Bellarmine heard from Habib Alnedari and Elyin Loaisiga. They spoke to attendees about the community response to climate change and our individual responsibility to taking care of our environment. They highlighted their NGO project work through Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, or WASH, and Convoy of Hope in their home countries of Yemen and Nicaragua, respectively.

Seniors Anna Freimark and Maya Krattli, co-chairs of the Community Affairs Board on the Bellarmine MUN program, have worked in accordance with the World Affairs Council of Tacoma, or WACT. Through this connection, Bellarmine is able to host guest speaker events where students and parents can come to hear about global issues, current events, and how to be more involved as students through discussion or hands-on action.

Most high schoolers leave high school with a newfound sense of adulthood, responsibility, intention to vote, and contribute to society. Especially in this world of emerging adults, school curriculum, and students themselves, should look for opportunities to seek further awareness on international issues and current events. It’s important to hear from new perspectives, especially from parts of the world that have been silenced and dismissed before. The hope that we can learn and grow from these experiences was addressed when Dr. Ugur said, “And maybe we will learn things, we will realize things, question things, and deven be inspired to take action and make a difference.” 

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These guest speaker events, set up by BellarMUN, offer students, and even parents, the chance to gain this knowledge through professional advice and research. While focused on the important tasks of how to maintain good grades or balance classes and a busy schedule, high school students often forget to learn about what is happening in the world outside of their small community. A lot of the time, they are sent off to college without a good understanding of international dynamics and a study of politics. More importantly, a lack of knowledge on how they can actively and individually contribute to these current situations. 

The importance of high schooler global issues education is further emphasized by Bellarmine staff and Model UN adviser, Ken Brown. Brown said that “Most of us have stereotypes about that part of the world [Yemen], so I think when you see a real beautiful person speak, like tonight[…] I think it humanizes some issues for Bellarmine students in a way that we just don’t get in the media. The media sort of feeds us only one story or narrative[…]  so unless you meet someone who’s an expert on a particular global issue, talk and explain things to you, we often take mental shortcuts and don’t get a chance to experience the fullness of these issues.” Brown well summarizes the importance of seeking out information from experts on the topic as to avoid misconceptions about people and regions around the world.

With resilience, drive, intelligence, and motivation to compete for higher education, many Bellarmine students would be glad to discover that guest speaker events are available at school. Taking only about an hour out of one’s day, someone has the ability to learn more and ask professionals questions. Finally, just as Alnedari called attendees to action on Feb. 15th, “As individuals, we have to read, to learn, to understand[…]what’s happening nowadays. Not only in our state or city, but in neighboring states and cities.”

Habib Alnedari speaks on climate change in Yemen. Photo courtesy of Ken Brown

About the Contributor
Alice Malebranche, Reporter
Alice Malebranche is a part of the class of 2025 and is honored to be on the Journalism Staff for the 23-24 school year. Spending most of her week on campus, she participates in Bellarmine lacrosse and golf, as well as Link Crew, Campus Ministry, and a variety of clubs. Outside of school, you can find Alice playing club lacrosse, watching the sunset at Chambers Bay, playing guitar, and taking her dog for a walk. She’s excited to contribute some pieces to the Bellarmine Lion this year!