Model United Nations

Ever since I joined the Northwestern Model United Nations club in 8th grade, it has been one of my favorite things to do and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And when I say it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I’m not joking. Participating in Model United Nations has helped me progress my problem solving, speaking, and most of all my interpersonal skills. The experience of representing a country, that I might start off knowing absolutely nothing about, and then becoming a player in resolving issues that affect everyone around the world is something that is unmatched to anything that I’ve done before.

But maybe I should start off with a little background on what Model UN really is. The whole basis around this activity is to create an exact simulation of the United Nations with students representing the countries involved. Like the real United Nations, Model UN conferences are split up in many different committees that discuss current topics in the real world. e.g. Security Council, General Assembly (and the different partitions of the General Assembly), Human Rights Council, etc. These committees (again like in the real downloadUN) only work to resolve the parts of these current issues that pertain to that specific committee. So let’s take the topic of cyber security for example as that is a largely debated topic in the UN in recent years. The Human Rights Council would focus more on the humanitarian related issues about this topic, while the Security Council would focus more on international conflicts and related issues. This adds an extra layer of variety to the Model UN conferences as you can choose a committee depending on what perspective you want to debate this topic on. And last but most definitely not least, every conference, you are assigned a country to represent in committee and you must see the topic from the viewpoint of that country. And this is what I think really makes Model UN amazing. You must research the topic and learn enough to be able to discuss it effectively, but you also have to research that topic as viewed by YOUR country not just the United States or first world countries. Then you have to represent your country accurately by what they believe, not just by what your own morals are. For example, if you are representing a highly censored country on the topic of Internet censorship, you would want to try to convince others for more restricted censorship because that is what your country wants not because that is what you personally want. This allows you to view some of the topics you might feel strongly about from different perspectives. This is also helps further your speaking skills as you have to persuade other delegates to see the issue from your viewpoint.

So now that I’m done with that little rant there :P , what I’ve been meaning to say is that next weekend I am going to UGA for my last (and largest) conference of the year. I’ll be representing the country of Kazakhstan in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. I’m really pumped for this conference as it is three days long and I’ll be doing something I love from sunrise to midnight almost everyday. I plan to win an award this time, so I’m coming prepared! I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Tomodachi Junior Summit in Mie

My Japanese teacher has recently made me aware of a scholarship / opportunity to travel to Japan for a week to discuss international relations and global sustainability (free of charge :P ). This got me thinking that I would definitely want to visit Japan and this seemed as good an opportunity as ever to do so. The trip’s main focus is international communication but I assume that because it IS in Japan I will have plenty of chances to see the country and talk with some people. The summit is taking place in Mie, a region South of Tokyo and towards the end of the week, there is a proposed trip to Tokyo itself. Although there is a slim chance of me being accepted, as there are most likely thousands of applicants, I can only hope I get selected. :D

The Light of the Unknown

As we advance further into our poem unit in Literature class, we have learned more about the types of form poetry. One of the most recent types of poems we learned about was the villanelle poem. This type of poem employs the use of repetition of lines 1 and 3 in the poem to form a structured thought. We were tasked to write one of our own villanelles in class and I have enjoyed writing this poem very much. Enjoy!

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The Light of the Unknown

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space

And miss a chance, you could explore.

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

Confront the dark with a straight face,

And let her guide, as your mentor.

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

 

Don’t be dismayed by false disgrace.

And times of which you ask, “what for?”

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

And once you feel at your birthplace,

You’ll find the key for that stage door.

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

 

And as you enact that coup de grace,

They call your name and cheer, “encore!”

Don’t fear what lies inside deep space.

All that may be unknown, embrace.

 

Final Latin Essay

The final step in a couple month long process of research, writing, and revision has come to a close. I have just turned in my final copy of the Latin project I’ve been working on. We had to cut it done from 1600 to only 800 words which was quite difficult. On a separate note, today we had “severe weather” including some wind and a bit of drizzle and school was released early so that’s a great start to a potential snowy weekend. :D

Scipio Africanus paved the way for significant Roman influences on the cultures and languages in Spain and North Africa, was one of the first generals to make use of espionage for military victory, a practice that has become very prevalent in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as innovating many military tactics such infantry column flanks and gaining the admiration of many future generals by being arguably one of history’s greatest war leaders.

Scipio Africanus was born in 236 B.C. into the Cornelii family, one of Rome’s most powerful and influential families. At the mere age of seventeen, he had his first experience with combat, watching his father who was also a commander. (Liddell Hart 9) Scipio was a pioneer of many military techniques (Gabriel NP) and was versed in many tactical maneuvers such infantry flanking and envelopment, which have been emulated by modern tacticians. (Gabriel 48) He was also widely known for his pragmatic and conservative plans such as his assault on Cartagena, the local capital of the Carthaginian lands in Iberia, (Liddell Hart 27) striking at the heart of the Carthaginian operations. (Liddell Hart 30) In addition Scipio was revered for his dedication and commitment to the war, (Acimovic 33) and the fact that he never lost a battle in his career. (Gabriel NP) He gained quite a large group of fans, and is often considered greater than Alexander the Great, who at the time was known by many as the best commander to have ever lived. (Berwick 26)

Scipio was first appointed as general at the age of 25 years old, and his first and most notable assignment was to Iberia to lead the armies in their campaign against the Carthaginians led by the brilliant Punic leader and general Hannibal. Scipio eventually was successful in bringing the region under Roman rule. (Acimovic 12) His most important victory in Spain was the conquest of the city of New Carthage, as it was the capital of the Carthaginian base in Spain. New Carthage was later fully integrated into the Roman Empire. From there, Latin became the official language of the cities and eventually all the citizens of the new Roman province. (Acimovic 16) Iberian culture was influenced extensively by Rome, and Latin became the major language of the region, eventually evolving into modern day Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages around the region. Without Scipio’s success in Hispania, Spain would not be the country we recognize today linguistically, culturally, or historically. (Kulikowski 1)

Scipio Africanus was one of the first generals to make use of spies in the acquisition of information and often sent disguised soldier into enemy camps to map entrances and exits as well as discover vulnerabilities in their defences. (Sheldon NP) He was the only Roman general to make extensive use of espionage while other generals of the day did not seem to take part in spying for the military. (Sheldon NP) During the siege of Utica, when the Romans could not make any more advances, Scipio sent some of his centurions dressed as slaves into the camp to reconnoiter vital information that would help the Roman army achieve complete victory against a force that was far superior in weapons and numbers. (Crowdy 23) He essentially began the practice of espionage in war and influenced the creation of organization such as the CIA, ISI, and MI6, which are now the primary forces in global diplomatic and military conflicts.

Few military leaders had the amount of influence and innovation that Scipio Africanus had. He was a genius military tactician and leader, planning and executing brilliant battle strategies, instilling courage and bravery in his troops, and all while never losing a single battle in his career. Scipio directed the history that Spain and North Africa would have, bringing Latin to Hispania and allowing for the spread and establishment of Roman rule across Iberia. And finally, he was one of the first Roman generals to make use of spies, scouting enemy camps with disguises and cunning to win battles against his odds. One could go as far as saying he is even better than Alexander the Great, and one of Rome’s best generals if not history’s best.

Of Mice and Men

Right when we got back to school after the two and half week break, we started reading yet another classic novel in Literature. This time it was the famous American novel, Of Mice and Men. Unlike some of the books we’ve read in Literature class in the past, I really enjoyed this one. Steinbeck writes in such a simple and engaging way that really works for a book like Of Mice and Men. The audiobook is also very entertaining and is read by Gary Sinise, actually directing and acting in the film adaption of the book. An assignment we were given after we had finished the book was to create a “found poem” which is a poem created from putting phrases from the book into a collage of words and sentences to tell a story or show an idea from the book. I used the concept of hope and companionship in my poem as they are important ideas in Of Mice and Men.

 We got a future.                                                                                                                    Tell you what we can do,                                                                                                    We gonna get a little place,                                                                                            Gonna do it soon.                                                                                                              Ain’t gonna be no more trouble.                                                                                          We got each other,                                                                                                                Me an’ you.                                                                                                                      There ain’t nobody can keep up.                                                                                        We could live offa the fatta the lan’.                                                                                    You can almost see the place.                                                                                                  It ain’t no lie.                                                                                                                  Honest!                                                                                                                              Jus’ milk the cow and sling some grain…                                                                                It’s gonna be nice sleepin’.                                                                                                We’ll go live there.

If the books we will be required to read in the future as half as good as this one, I’ll be happy.

A Slick Limerick

For the past week in my Literature class, we have been learning the ins and outs of poems. That being the different types of poems, interpreting what they mean, and how they are structured. We just recently learned about meters and stresses and how they are used in structuring a line for a poem. Then after we crammed our heads full of all this knowledge, we put it to use by writing our first poem. We were tasked to write a limerick style poem on any topic we wanted to. This is what I came up with. Enjoy! 

(Disclaimer: I don’t actually hate writing limericks. It just worked with the rhyme.)

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There once was a fellow named Nick,

who hated writing limerick.

He worked through the night

and to his delight,

he thought what he wrote was quite slick.

And A Happy New Year

Sadly, winter break has finally come to an end and school has started up once again. But the end of winter break also means the beginning of a new year. I, for one, am actually really excited for this new year and what it has in store for me. One of the biggest things I’m looking forward to this year is that I’ll be old enough to get my learner’s permit! I’m so excited to finally learn how to drive. But I’ve still got a little bit of time left until that happens.

Although it’s over now, I had so much fun relaxing and hanging out with friends and my family. One of the most interesting things that I got this Christmas was this card game called Exploding Kittens. On first glance, the name seems really weird and I guess even exploding_kittens_boxlooking at it now it still seems weird, but it’s actually a really fun game. The whole basis around the game is that you are trying to be the last person in the game and if you pull an exploding kitten card, then you are out of the game. But there are also a number of other cards that you can play to either protect yourself from picking an exploding kitten card or cause someone else to pick an exploding kitten card. It is a little complicated but after you learn how to play, it’s really enjoyable to just sit down and play a couple rounds.

I did enjoy relaxing over winter break a lot but when I went back to school this past week, I remembered what made me enjoy school so much. I can pursue learning what I love (and some stuff I don’t quite love so much :P ) and see my friends every day. One of the things that I like so much about the high school environment that I participate in, is that there are so many people that I can goto when I need help with some schoolwork or even if I just need someone to talk to. And these people enhance my experience of learning to something that I enjoy doing rather than it being something that seems like work. I’ve enjoyed my first semester at Milton and I can’t wait to spend my next 3 years here.

New Semester, New Tech

With the new semester starting and the new material being taught, there are many new changes in the organization and teaching of a few of my classes. To provide some background, there is a special-purpose local-option sales taxes (more commonly known as SPLOST in the state of Georgia that can be used to finance different special projects in the county. Fulton county implemented one and is planning to used the money acquired via this tax to provide Google Chromebooks to 96,000 middle-school and high-school student across Fulton country in an attempt to make education more student-oriented with flexible lesson plans. With this in mind a couple of my teachers are shifting their teaching styles to heavily include their websites and a choice about what kind of work the students want to do. These two classes are AP World History, with a first-year teacher who is accustom to changing everything about how the class is taught week to week, and Japanese III, with a teacher who is all about doing things differently than what the higher-ups in the education system are used too. I wasn’t surprised by either of them. I’m not unhappy about these changes but I am skeptical that they will be better than the systems that were in place before and it seems to me that it just puts the responsibility of learning to the students and the role of the teacher is just to supervise (akin to online classes). Both classes are taking similar paths about how they will go about teaching in the future. Both will have required assignments including basic elements of the class (vocabulary, basic facts) and will allot the chosen-work to higher level thinking assignments. A unique plan in my Japanese class is to have a collective grammar wiki that students will contribute to, edit, and compile grammar lessons and example sentences. I’ll just have to see how this new approach will turn out. It’s a look into next year were all the classes will be organized this way and technology in the classroom will be the norm.