HISTORY AND PURPOSE OF SWFLMUN
In 1989 as part of its Educational Outreach the Naples Council on World Affairs undertook to develop a program of academic enhancement in global issues for area high school students. The Council decided that a Model United Nations Program would be well suited to achieve this goal. Other World Councils across the United States had been sponsoring Model United Nations programs for forty years. Simulating the actual working of the United Nations, Model United Nations programs (MUNs) have four purposes:
To teach negotiating, bargaining and communication skills;
To represent a foreign perspective in a disciplined forum;
To enhance awareness and inform students on critical global issues;
To acquaint students with the workings of the United Nations.
The Naples Council on World Affairs, Inc. commenced this outreach project by underwriting a Model United Nations program in conjunction with the Collier County Board of Education. This enabled Collier high school students to participate in a new program in Miami, Florida sponsored by the Dade County Public School system and Florida International University.
Initially, Barron Collier High School sent two teams to Miami in 1990. The following year Immokalee High School joined the program, sending students to the Miami MUN. Naples High School and Lely High Schools joined in 1992. The four schools each sent two teams to Miami for the next two years, winning awards, both for individual and delegation excellence in the Dade County Program. However, the growing popularity of the program in Dade County precluded acceptance of additional teams from outside their county and established the need for a southwest Florida conference.
In 1994 the Naples Council on World Affairs sponsored and coordinated the first Southwest Florida Model United Nations. Florida International University agreed to conduct the academic portion of the program in coordination with the Council.
Public and private schools in Lee, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties were invited to join with Collier schools to participate in the First Southwest Florida Model United Nations conference. Ten schools from Lee, Charlotte and Collier accepted the invitation and fielded 80 students at the May 1994 event. A team represented one country with four to seven student delegates. Popularity of the program was instantaneous and contagious. The second conference in February 1995 doubled student numbers with 180 participating from 15 schools. The 2001-2002 conference hosted 24 schools from six counties.
The Southwest Florida Model United Nations is overseen by the Board of Directors of the Naples Council on World Affairs. The program has an Advisory Board of Council members, school administrators, teachers and interested individuals.
Subcommittees of the Advisory Board work on such facets of the program as general logistics, judging, awards, and resources.
The Council is proud to play a role in helping students to become tomorrow's leaders and informed members of the world community. The Council recognizes the support of the Boards of Education of Charlotte, Collier and Lee counties and the individual schools' administration and teachers. In addition, the cooperation of Florida Gulf Coast University in conducting the academic portion of the program has been an essential component of its success.