Bilingualism is a superpower at Mannequin UN
Bilingual Education

Bilingualism is a superpower at Mannequin UN

College students from throughout North Carolina are making “conexiones” at UNC Greensboro between world points, language, and one another. 

In March, greater than 300 center college college students from 19 colleges got here to UNCG to sort out the problem of water shortage – all in a mannequin United Nations state of affairs and completely in Spanish.


Bilingualism is a superpower at Mannequin UN
Straus works with college students throughout the mannequin U.N. occasion.

Take part Studying, a world academic companies firm, put collectively the occasion as a part of their Conexiones program, which offers curriculum, coaching, and alternate academics to dual-language center colleges. In Conexiones, college students study totally different cultures and points with a purpose to apply their bilingualism to their future careers. There are 33 Conexiones colleges in North Carolina and Virginia. 

“The purpose is to change into bilingual leaders,” says Jason Straus, Conexiones product supervisor for Take part Studying. “Bilingualism is a superpower, and it will probably actually improve an individual’s skilled and private life.”

For the previous three years, Take part Studying has held its mannequin United Nations occasion specializing in a distinct subject every year.

“With a view to determine the subject, academics do actions with their college students to determine what points they’re most enthusiastic about,” Straus says. “After which we come collectively as a instructor group and suggest matters we are able to do, primarily based on what the scholars inform them.”


College students have been assigned nations to characterize on the mannequin U.N., and so they ready opening statements representing their assigned nation’s place. After the opening statements, college students spent about an hour in “Ambassador Exercise,” a time to debate in Spanish potential options to be voted as resolutions.

Sophomore Reynolds scholar Jia Emaus helped restart UNCG’s mannequin U.N. Membership and volunteered on the occasion.

“It’s simply so significant,” Emaus says. “These children are center schoolers, and I used to be by no means uncovered to mannequin U.N. once I was their age. So being a part of constructing this expertise and exposing them to the sorts of concepts that the U.N. ignites is so cool.”

Emaus, a double main in worldwide and world research and political science with a double minor in Spanish and Chinese language, says doing mannequin UN may be invaluable for all college students.

“It’s simply a good way for an individual to observe diplomacy, to make connections, to be a pacesetter, and likewise to study actual world issues and observe fixing them,” she says.


Take part Studying went digital as a consequence of COVID-19, so this was the primary in-person Conexiones mannequin UN occasion in two years. It was additionally the primary occasion to be held at UNCG, a conexión for Straus.

As an AmeriCorps member by the AmeriCorps Entry Challenge – a part of UNCG’s Heart for New North Carolinians, Straus helped create the Oakwood Forest Group Heart in Greensboro. Whereas on the middle 11 years in the past, Straus led volunteers Marisa Gonzalez ‘16 ‘19 MA, who’s now a UNCG academic management doctoral pupil and an Assistant Director within the Workplace of Intercultural Engagement (OIE) which helped with the occasion.

“It’s a small world second,” Straus says.

Bertha Figueroa
Bertha Figueroa is without doubt one of the 50 bilingual UNCG college students who volunteered on the mannequin U.N. occasion.

A number of of the scholars Straus and Gonzalez mentored at the moment are UNCG college students and served as a part of the group of fifty present UNCG bilingual pupil volunteers. Gonzalez now works intently with these bilingual college students in her function on the OIE supporting Latino pupil engagement and intergroup dialogue. 

“When Jason reached out concerning the risk it was a straightforward choice to collaborate due to how effectively the undertaking aligned with our values on the OIE and for a way cool it might be to reconnect years later to host a bilingual experiential studying expertise like this for our older and newer college students,” Gonzalez says. “Inside days I had a rising record of pupil volunteers who wished to play a job in making this present day attainable.” 

College students visiting campus additionally had the chance to attach with UNCG college students just about earlier than the occasion after which do a campus tour. Bertha Figueroa – a junior finding out Speech Pathology and Audiology – gave excursions to college students and says it’s essential for younger individuals to see themselves in others.

“We’re all so totally different,” she says. “We now have so many alternative identities, and it’s very good to see your self and different individuals in roles that you really want later in life. I do know it was crucial for me.”


Santiago Sanabria Guzman
Santiago Sanabria Guzman volunteered on the occasion, speaking with college students about water shortage in his native Colombia.

As a highschool pupil, Santiago Sanabria Guzman was a type of college students influenced by seeing somebody like him at UNCG. Initially from Colombia, Sanabria Guzman first visited UNCG by CHANCE, a six-week summer time program for Latino and Hispanic rising highschool juniors and seniors targeted on faculty preparedness and management expertise. 

“This system gave you UNCG pupil mentors,” says Sanabria Guzman, who’s now a junior sociology and political science main. “Listening to how the scholars might research and be skilled was wonderful. It impacted me.”

Sanabria Guzman volunteered on the mannequin U.N. occasion, speaking with college students about his native Colombia. He’s keen about water shortage in Colombia and stresses collaboration is critical to resolve these giant points.

“It’s not nearly Colombia. It’s about realizing what everybody’s issues are and dealing collectively to create options,” says Sanabria Guzman.

Take part Studying hopes these Conexiones mannequin UN occasions present college students increased schooling is attainable.

“I would like college students to know that faculty is a risk for them by truly seeing a school campus and interacting with UNCG college students,” Straus says. “It makes all of this a risk for them irrespective of which stroll of life or household state of affairs they arrive from.”

Story by Avery Craine Powell, College Communications
Images by Sean Norona, College Communications