Hundreds of teenagers at the 33rd annual Model United Nations at Georgia Southern University are debating the hottest topics in the world. They do it every year at in Statesboro. WTOC listened in and found this spring's G-8 summit has teens even more interested in world affairs.
Amanda Shiver of Frederica Academy has never been to Iran, but she's defending the country to the rest of the world. A world, that is, led by high school students from across the Coastal Empire. "It challenges you to not completely accept what you've accepted your entire life," she said.
The issues are real, right out of today's news: terrorism, famine and weapons of mass destruction. They research their countries for months to argue from their points of view. "You realize there are views different from the US, and that's extremely important," said Adam Tsang of Statesboro High School.
For some, the debates seem closer to home with the G-8 summit coming to the region this summer. "As we've seen the G-8 evolve, we've seen them move from just the economic to all sorts of issues, military, political, far beyond what the G-8 used to be," noted GSU professor Dr. Barry Balleck.
Students say it all helps them appreciate some of what they hear this summer, from hostile countries and international protestors. "They're very hateful toward the United States. But I've also learned about issues I've never heard before," said Katherine Munden-Dixon of Savannah Arts Academy.
Many say they'll watch world events and this summer's meeting with a new perspective. Eighteen high schools send students to the Model UN. The conference continues through Saturday morning.