Sidwell Friends hosted its fifth annual SFS-Model UN Conference on Sunday, January 22, with opening remarks from President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon.
Mr. Donilon spoke about U.S. foreign policy and the workings of the National Security Council, stressing the importance of process as a key factor in making national security decisions. He talked about the preparation for and the participants involved in the daily national security briefing for the president and outlined strategic problems he and the administration have faced in the past two years. Mr. Donilon ended his remarks by urging students to consider a career in public service, advising them to “get out in the stream of history and swim as fast as you can.” Before his departure, Mr. Donilon entertained numerous questions from students.
After opening ceremonies, students adjourned to their assigned committee sessions, each representing a country, and debated topics such as cyber warfare and electronic espionage, the Palestinian appeal for membership in the United Nations, non-proliferation of weapons in the Middle East, the use of drones in military operations, the Afghanistan/Pakistan border conflict, and human rights issues in Syria and Venezuela. Committees included two General Assemblies, a Security Council, and a NATO.
Sunday’s full-day conference was planned and staffed exclusively by Sidwell students and brought together students from eight schools in the D.C. area, including Georgetown Day School, Landon, St. Anselm’s, St. Albans, Georgetown Visitation, Potomac, and Maret.