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Current and future United Nations leaders will come together to discuss global issues during Old Dominion University's 24th Annual Model United Nations High School Conference which opened Feb. 15 and continues through Feb. 17 at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in downtown Norfolk. It is sponsored by the university's Model United Nations Society.

More than 1,200 students representing 60 high schools across the United States, as well as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Kosovo, Yugoslavia, will attend the conference, which has been held at Old Dominion annually since 1977.

"This conference educates the leaders of the future in global issues and international diplomacy," said Maria Fornella-Oehninger, director of Old Dominion's Model United Nations program. "It is one of the most valuable tools to prepare our youth for surviving in an interdependent world. It raises their awareness of other cultures and conflicts; it teaches them compromise and negotiation in the international arena."

Guest speakers from the U.N. will include Hamid Abdeljaber of Palestine, chief of the Middle East Radio Unit for the Department of Public Information; Diane Bailey of the United States, chief of the Central Programmes Unit of the United Nations Radio and a specialist on women and children's issues; and Jean-Bernard Gazarian of France, senior fellow and coordinator of the Training Programme for Permanent Missions of the U.N. Institute for Training and Research, who has been with the U.N. since 1946.

Opening ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, in the Sheraton Ballroom. Abdeljaber will deliver the keynote address on the role of the United Nations in the new millennium.

Students will participate in the simulation of two U.N. General Assembly bodies, as well as the Economic and Social Council, the Non-Governmental Organizations Forum, the Children's Forum, the Plenary Assembly of the Millennium,
the Security Council and a historical simulation of the 1947 Jammu and Kashmire dispute in the Security Council.

On Friday, Feb. 16, Faculty advisers from the societies in attendance are invited to an all-day workshop, "Teaching About the Middle East," organized by the Middle-East Policy Council, based in Washington, D.C. The workshop will be held in the Sheraton's Monticello Room.

Old Dominion's conference is one of three such events in the United States. The other two are held at Harvard University and the College of William and Mary.

Participating Hampton Roads schools include:

·Chesapeake: Deep Creek High School, Great Bridge High School, Hickory High School, Oscar Smith High School, Western Branch High School
·Hampton: Bethel High School, Kecoughtan High School
·Newport News: Denbigh High School, Peninsula Catholic High School, Warwick High School, Woodside High School
·Norfolk: Booker T. Washington High School, Granby High School, Maury High School, Norfolk Collegiate School, Norview High School
·Portsmouth: Woodrow Wilson High School
·Virginia Beach: Cape Henry Collegiate School, Cox High School, Indian River High School, Kellam High School
·Williamsburg: Lafayette High School, Jamestown High School
·York County: Grafton High School, Tabb High School, York High School

For more information contact Fornella-Oehninger at 683-5933 or mfornell@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: February 12, 2001

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