MUN Impact


Jon Sky, Reporter

Shortly after returning from THIMUN Qatar this January, juniors Ethan Kalishman (20) and Carrie Zhang (20) started the MUN Impact club. The club’s mission is “to find currently-existing initiatives at JBS and connect them to the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN. Meetings will consist of brainstorming sessions for new projects and for ways to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In 2015, the UN General Assembly agreed on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a means to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs were one of the primary focuses for participants at THIMUN, and Kalishman said that his preparation for the conference was what sparked his interest in achieving the goals. With MUN Impact, there are opportunities to foster real change with visible benefits. They overlap and fit in very well with many of the current Burroughs community initiatives.

The leaders of MUN Impact and faculty sponsors Mr. Newman and Dr. Koropchak traveled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City for the United Nations Model UN Youth Summit, where they learned of ways to incorporate the SDGs into their MUN Impact groups. With 430 people from 30 different countries attending the conference, JBS students heard from UN officials such as Under-Secretary General for Global Communications Alison Smale and Secretary General António Guterres.

Zhang recounts how Smale began the conference, stating, “This isn’t Model UN anymore. You’re now at the real UN.” This quote emphasizes the organization’s genuine impact and effects on the world. Carrie also mentioned Secretary General Guterres’ address. “We are in trouble in the UN today,” he said. “My generation has failed in a number of very important aspects. Most obvious is climate change.”

After four sessions of speakers and presenters came the closing ceremony where students heard from Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. She stressed the importance of young leaders’ interest in the United Nations and global leadership, especially at a time when many world leaders cannot agree on common goals.

Only several weeks later, the SDGs served as integral parts of the Spring Break Service project in Memphis, Tennessee. MUN Impact members and JBS students who went on the trip visited the Porter-Leath Hanley Head Start program, which serves at-risk children and families. All of the work done on the trip was directly connected to SDGs and it covered nearly each one, notably: eliminating poverty and hunger, promoting good health and well-being, and reducing inequality. According to MUN Impact, JBS students learned “how important Pre-K years are in formulating success throughout a child’s entire school experience.”

If you are interested in supporting or helping MUN Impact, Kalishman mentioned a number of ways to do so.

“If you have any ideas about projects you would want to work on, then you could start your own,” he said. “You can work to achieve a long-term goal; for example, if you are interested in combating climate change, then you can start an initiative at JBS and we can support your endeavors. And as always, feel free to attend our meetings to learn more about MUN Impact.”