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Model UN Students Debate Action to Stop Coronavirus

UPDATE – On April 2 (the day after this story was published), the United Nations took historic action against the pandemic. Read about it HERE.  // “Ending the pandemic everywhere is both a moral imperative and a matter of enlightened self-interest.  At this unusual moment, we cannot resort to the usual tools.  Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.  We face a colossal test which demands decisive, coordinated and innovative action from all, for all.”


Three weeks before the new coronavirus, COVID-19, was declared a pandemic, 122 junior high and high school students from the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist schools met at Portland Adventist Academy’s third annual Model United Nations.

Students from Riverside Christian School, Rivergate Adventist Elementary, Hood View Junior Academy, and Portland Adventist Elementary School acted as members of Country Delegations. They introduced resolutions to Councils and Committees overseen by PAA high school students acting as United Nations officials. ALL schools in the Oregon Adventist system are invited and encouraged to participate in this annual event. Contact Dr. Tim Erich for details about the next event: HERE

Representing the country of Indonesia in the Health & Environment council, was Kelsey Judd, a PAA sophomore. She sponsored a resolution to stop the spread of COVID-19 with co-sponsor delegates from Mexico and Nigeria.

Just a week later, resolutions similar were being implemented by governments around the world.

“When I wrote my resolution, there were only 1,000 deaths worldwide and [COVID-19] was only in 25 countries outside of China,” says Judd. “And now there are more than 1,000 deaths just in New York City.” (Stated March 18. See the latest continuous updated numbers out of NYC HERE.)

The new coronavirus was one of many world challenges the Model United Nations (MUN) students debated. They also explored how to provide safe drinking water and access to education in developing nations. They discussed ways to help countries experiencing civil war and wrestled with ways to protect the rights of people to worship according to their conscience.

PAA History teacher, Dr. Tim Erich says the Model UN helps students see how all of us have a part to play in caring for our global neighbors. “Effectively using the ideas, skills and resources that God has given us can have a positive effect on our family, our school, our church, and on our community, country and world,” says Erich.

Dr. Tim Erich and Sean Kootsey, PAA Social Studies and History teachers, believe in the value of the Model United Nations experience especially in times like these.

“I can think of no better form of learning social studies,” says Kootsey. “Students were grappling with real problems facing humanity today–climate change, access to fresh water, war and the lack of security in many regions of the world, and access to education.”

“It reveals the interconnectedness of all peoples,” says Erich. “It helps students see that there are many very challenging issues in the world that do not have easy answers or solutions. And the most important discovery that can come from participating in our Model UN is the understanding that every human being can make a difference,” says Erich.

In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, that means staying home to lengthen and “flatten the curve”.

“When I was writing my resolution, I never imagined that one month later we would all be doing school online and quarantined in our homes,” said Judd.

PAA Advanced Placement World History students served as MUN officials: (from left) Sophomore Max Gaynaliy, Vice-Chair of the U.N. Security Council; Sophomore Maddy Rose, Chair of the U.N. Security Council; and Junior Alyssa Fresse, U.N. General Secretary.

The Model United Nations event gives teachers, students, and their parents a chance to talk about how we face a hurting world.

Students like Kelsey are examples of how a Christ-centered and character-driven education supports parents in their efforts to raise their children in the peace and love of Jesus.

“One way my faith in Jesus keeps me looking forward is knowing that He will come one day and there will be no more diseases or deaths and we will get to live with Him in heaven,” says Judd. “I feel hopeful for the days ahead knowing God is in control.”

“This world is not our home,” says Kootsey. “We are looking forward to a perfect future. But in the meantime, God has charged us with taking care of our planet and taking care of each other. He has given us some very basic guidelines both through the Ten Commandments and in the example of Jesus that teach us to respect each other, not kill each other, and to reach out to and take care of those that are less fortunate than ourselves.”

PAA sophomore, Kelsey Judd served in the Health and Environment council as a delegate from Indonesia. She proposed a resolution to stop the global spread of the new coronavirus a month before COVID-19 was declared a real pandemic.


All schools in the Oregon Adventist system are invited and encouraged to participate in this annual event. Contact Dr. Tim Erich for details about the 4th annual Model UN event: HERE

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