Volunteering this year has been off to a great start. At our partner school, Joyce Kilmer, we have continued to work in their civics class. On the first day, we introduced the students to the UN by showing them an introductory video and powerpoint and having them read an article about the French President Macron speaking at the UN. We then ran a debate on which sports should be in the Olympics, and more specifically whether E-sports should be added or not. They did not reach a conclusion, but it was a great debate.
The second week we talked about the Constitution. We started with a brief review of the American Revolution and its motives and moderated a debate where the students took the role of colonists. They debated whether to declare independence or not and ultimately decided to start a revolution when they realized it would be the most beneficial to the vast majority of the citizens. This set the stage for a discussion on the Articles of Confederation. After explaining why the Articles failed, we moved into the Constitution itself. To keep it high level, we explained the creation of the three branches of government, the Bill of Rights, and some further Amendments since. For our activity, we asked the students if they think any of the current Amendments should be changed, or if any new ones should be added. The one that ended up having the most discussion was the 24th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18. Some figured it should be lowered to 16, while some actually thought it should be raised to 21! It made for some friendly debate, and the students continued to discuss the matter even after class was over.
Continuing on with the topic of independence, we used a modern example of the Catalan independence movement for our third class with them. We introduced the conflict via a video, powerpoint, and article. The students were put into three groups: pro-independence, anti-independence, and neutral. Just like the week before, it was a lively debate that continued on even after it was time for the students to go to their next class.
Blog Post #2
Our leadership team has been working on some great things this summer. Our Content Team has been putting together creative videos and articles on topics such as Nuclear Proliferation, the 1973 Oil Embargo, and Space Treaties. They will be on our website soon so keep an eye out! We are also working on our financial aid application for EagleMUNC VII over the summer and are looking to have it available on the website by the beginning of the new school year. The team is also in the early planning stages of a fall mini-conference or MUN workshop - finding a suitable location for a workshop is at the top of our list. In addition, EGLI has established a growing relationship with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston and we are excited about potential collaborations in the next year - keep an eye out for EGLI at UNAGB's August expo! If you or your school are interested in working with us this year, please reach out! Here at EGLI, we are eagerly looking forward to this coming year.
Blog Post #1
On Thursday, we sent two volunteers to Joyce Kilmer Upper School, one of our partner schools, at which we teach an eighth grade Civics class. We discussed the current political and economic crisis in Venezuela. Although many of the students had not previously heard of the current situation, they quickly caught on to the factors which caused the breakdown of the Venezuelan economy and the crisis of President Nicolás Maduro’s leadership. We talked at length about the economic crisis created by former President Hugo Chávez’s massive social programs, which were funded by Venezuela’s oil revenue but deteriorated once the price of oil plummeted following the 2008 economic crisis. We ended the class with a discussion of the international community’s role in Venezuela. We posed the question of whether the United States or perhaps the United Nations could intervene to keep the peace in the country, and if that would even be possible given political limitations. However, it begs the question of what responsibility the rest of the world bears to step in when the people of a country are no longer rightfully represented by their government. And if we can get students thinking about those big-picture questions, that’s what this is all about.