The goal of Luis’ sabbatical year is to strengthen underserved students researching, debating, leadership, and writing skills through Model United Nations and introduce them to the important work of the Department of State. He has partnered with Global Classrooms D.C. to implement this ambitious goal in public and charter high schools throughout Washington, D.C. Drawing from GCDC resources and my nearly eight years as a Model United Nations delegate, he designed a yearlong lesson plan to help both educators and students understand the fundamentals of Model UN. The skills-focused lessons cover drafting position papers, negotiations, resolution writing, and public speaking. For students interested in learning more about topical issues, he put together a wide spectrum of lessons ranging from “Rethinking the Refugee Crisis” to “Responding to an International Drug Threat” to “The Fight Against Piracy and Terrorism in Somalia.” These are all topics on which Luis has worked closely in his Foreign Service career.
To provide practical exercises implementing these lessons, he helped draft three Model UN simulations that he intends to also share broadly with District of Colombia Public Schools (DCPS). The simulations are designed to encourage students to learn, discuss, and explore today’s most pressing global issues through hands-on experience. Students will be asked to think about the plight of refugees, averting a humanitarian disaster, and the mediatory role of the African Union.
In addition to developing a yearlong curriculum, he has worked hard to expand GCDC’s outreach to underserved schools in the Washington, D.C. area. Working with the DCPS’ main office, he contributed to the Principals’ Monthly Newsletter promoting GCDC resources and our partnership this year. Through this broad outreach, he highlighted the important role of Model UN in challenging students to think critically about the world and the work of the Department of State. He also wrote a blog for the United Nations Association to help with recruitment of new schools that was shared with nearly 5,000 students and educators across the Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area explaining why Model UN matters.
Margaret Diop is currently serving as an advisor and mentor to Native American Indian (NAI) community youth and young adults, educators, educational institutions, public officials, and non-governmental organization representatives that serve NAI communities in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties. Her work informs the NAI community – especially NAI youth – and engaged Native American Indian influencers and service providers about the Foreign Service and other U.S. Government development assistance agencies (including the U.S. Peace Corps and the United States Agency for International Development).
She hopes to inspire NAI youth and young adults to pursue careers in international affairs to add to the diversity of representation in Foreign Affairs by the NAI. Furthermore, her work communicates what opportunities international affairs careers can provide to the NAI communities and Tribal homelands.
In the early stages of her project, she has found that helping NAI youth and young adults understand the importance of their voices as direct participants in international affairs is an important aspect of successful awareness-raising.
Featured Past Fellow
Sherry Zalika Sykes – Understanding Violence
During her sabbatical year, Sherry undertook research, writing, teaching and activism on violence prevention and intervention, both independently and with Yale University and the organization Cure Violence. Sherry’s blog, Understanding Violence, highlights her work. She writes: “This sabbatical, generously supported by the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, has enabled me to become engaged in examining the causes and consequences of violence, and then to educate others about strategies to prevent violence in all its forms both at home in America and abroad. This blog space results.”
Sherry delivered the keynote address and received an award at the Washington D.C. US District Attorney’s Office’s National Crime Victim’s Rights Week.