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World View: Model UN Expands Students’ Horizons

Connor Merk, Reporter

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The Model United Nations club’s main purpose is to prepare and attend conferences throughout the year. At these conferences, attendees are given worldly topics and work together to find solutions. Catherine Cata (’18) and Erin McCluskey (’19) have leadership roles in this organization, and describe their experiences below.

Catherine Cata

Catherine Cata (‘18) is the founding member of the Model United Nations club and has been President for the entire duration of her time at Forge. Cata has been involved with Model UN for 3 years in middle school and 4 years in high school.

Cata discovered the club from her middle school Focus teacher and joined for a couple of reasons.

Learning about different countries and a chance to improve my public speaking skills,” Cata said.

Catherine Cata (’18) receiving an award at the American University Conference

Under Cata’s leadership, the club has grown tremendously.

“Beginning freshman year, I recruited members and had a table at open house, along with [the task of] getting a sponsor/choosing conferences,” Cata said. “Each year we have gotten progressively more, and more people have joined the club. My freshman year, we had three stable members; now we have eleven or twelve.”

It was challenging to recruit at first, but Cata never stopped recruiting.

“Eventually I was able to recruit very interested people in Model UN to share this great experience,” Cata said.

Each member of Model UN is required to go to two conferences each year. At these conferences they represent a particular country’s on multiple topics, and attempt to solve conflicts given to them.

Cata’s favorite experience includes, “Representing Portugal in the EU at American University this year, and representing Saudi Arabia in UNEP at George Mason University.”

Model UN has been a contributing factor of the way she views the world. “I have a less American look into issues, and I am able to understand how a country is affected in many other ways by something,” Cata said.

Cata plans on continuing Model UN in college and in the future. “I want to be a diplomat or an ambassador working at the United Nations,” Cata said. “Model UN has enabled me to know that I really like international relations and global politics rather than national politics.”


Erin McCluskey

Erin McCluskey (‘19) has been involved with the Model UN club for two years, holding several leadership positions.

“I have been secretary, historian, and will be president next year,” McCluskey said.

McCluskey discovered this club through her parents. “We were looking up activities and clubs to join, and they thought I would like Model UN,” McCluskey said. “I’m interested in current events regarding foreign relations and global affairs.”

Through being a part of this organization, some of her favorite conferences include George Mason 2017 and 2018.

Erin McCluskey (’19) receiving an award at the George Mason University Conference

“My favorite part is spending time meeting new people from different areas and states,” McCluskey said.

Each conference provides several types of committees, such as crisis and general assembly. Crisis committees are for more advanced students, and are less structured and rely heavily on committee members responding to surprise updates. McCluskey prefers the crisis committees because they have influenced her views on worldly issues.

“[In crisis] there aren’t necessarily set topics of discussion. I never realized that crises were handled by a somewhat small, limited group of people,” McCluskey said. “Although that may seem obvious in some respects, actually trying to solve unexpected problems, even for just a fake scenario, is nerve-wracking. My view on how things are figured out and how problems are solved has definitely opened up.”

McCluskey has learned a lot about herself while doing this club. “I never realized how soft spoken I can be,” McCluskey said. “This club has definitely helped me find my voice and use it.”

As a leader of the club, McCluskey played many parts. “I help organize and plan things, as well as talk to members on their opinions of the club,” McCluskey said.  

McCluskey’s plans for the future include sticking with this club. “I will definitely be continuing with the club,” McCluskey said. “As the new president, I hope to increase the amount of participants as well as how many conferences we go to.”

A specific goal for McCluskey is to create ways to involved newer members.

“My goal for next year is to have more Mock Conferences for the new members of the club,” McCluskey said.   

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World View: Model UN Expands Students’ Horizons