Local Students Develop a Passion for World Affairs through CCWA’s Model United Nations Program


CCWA’s Model United Nations (MUN) program is one of the longest-standing Model UN programs in the world. The program brings together 2,000 Northeast Ohio high school and middle school students every year. During a Model UN conference, students engage in a learning experience like no other: they represent a country in a simulation of a United Nations committee and discuss global challenges such as the spread of infectious disease at a refugee camp in Jordan, combating extremism in Northern Africa, protecting our planet against deforestation, and many other topics.

Alivia O’Donnell and Jack Bernacki, both seniors at Mentor High School, have each spent all four years of their high school careers in CCWA’s Model UN Program. As graduating seniors, CCWA asked them to look back and reflect on how Model UN made a difference in their high school experience. 

Model UN Enhances Skills for School and Life

During a Model UN conference, students step in the shoes of diplomats. As delegates, they lobby for their assigned country’s positions on the topics being debated. Jack appreciates the benefits of this process: “It allows us to develop public speaking and presenting skills, as well as debate skills, problem solving, and out-of-the-box thinking and creativity.” The creativity really comes into play when delegates are writing resolutions to address international challenges. Alivia added that drafting these resolutions and working with other delegations helped her learn how to write formal documents in a time-crunch, a skill that she can surely benefit from later in life.

Model UN Opens Up New Perspectives and Friendships

Outside of the educational experience that Model UN provides, the program broadens students’ perspectives and allows them to develop friendships across schools. “Meeting people from so many different backgrounds has been eye-opening. These conferences have allowed me to meet students that share the same interests as me. We’re bringing together students from around Ohio that care about the issues and challenges that our generation will face together,” says Alivia. She added that she stays in contact with Model UN friends weekly and, in some cases, daily. 

Model UN Experience Inspires Globally-Minded Future Plans

So where are these students heading? Jack and Alivia are both attending Miami University in the fall, where Jack plans to study Diplomacy and Global Politics, and Alivia intends to major in Biology and Pre-Medicine with a minor in German. CCWA is proud to see our Model UN graduates taking their next steps as leaders, and we always look forward to seeing what former MUN students will do in the future.

Interested in becoming a Model UN delegate? Contact CCWA’s Program Manager Daniela Milan at to learn more!


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For a century, the CCWA has brought diverse perspectives on issues of international import to Cleveland. Much of our programming is made possible by the the support of our members and the generosity of our donors. Will you help us continue to create global connections?