As members of the North Shore Country Day girls basketball team, Ilhana Redzovic and Claire McCarthy look to contribute whenever they take the court.
But as participants in the school’s Model United Nations program, they’re gearing up to make contributions of a different sort somewhere down the road. Each was one of 15 North Shore students participating in the Columbia University (N.Y.) Model United Nations and Exposition from Jan. 17-20, and Redzovic returned home with Best Delegate honors for her work with the Paris Peace Conference Committee, which simulated the meeting of Allied victors following the end of World War I.
Redzovic debated from the perspective of U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Meanwhile, McCarthy served on a crisis committee interpreting the Russian Security Council’s role during the meeting that produced the Paris Peace Treaties. Each participant was assigned three topics, and debated against students from across the U.S. and other English-speaking countries.
“Hopefully, I’ll have a political career one day,” said Redzovic, who also serves as president of North Shore’s student council. “I think about our relations to other countries, and how we make decisions. I want to understand how the U.S. makes decisions regarding other countries, and how other countries perceive us. A lot of people say ignorance is bliss, but if we make assumptions about things regarding other countries, it could hurt who we deal with, and the decisions we make — and that could affect the future.”
McCarthy was a Best Delegate winner in the General Assembly representing Vietnam during Carthage College’s Model United Nations Conference, in November. Her mother, Jane, was active in Barack Obama’s campaign to become a U.S. Senator, and McCarthy said, “my whole family is involved in politics.
“I’m really interested in current events and international relations, and I think that’s important. If you really want to make a difference, you need to know what’s going on everywhere. In my future, I want to make a difference in the international world.”
During the same conference, Redzovic was named Best Delegate in the Security Council representing France, and nabbed second-place honors for her position paper. Aside from learning what goes at the United Nations, she said participating in M.U.N. events has helped with her communication skills.
“Being able to articulate yourself well — that’s an area in which Model U.N. has been effective,” she said. “And in terms of thinking of the future, and learning how you can use solutions to problems and how it relates to real life.”
Added McCarthy: “Whether it’s Africa, Europe — anywhere. You need to be aware of what’s going on in the world.”