Discovering Russia – Ramstein teens attend MUN conference, tour Red Square

Kim Snodgrass
Ramstein MUN vice president

***image1***A delegation of 42 students from Ramstein American High School, members of the Model United Nations club, embarked recently on an adventure to Russia, where the goal was to understand a culture lesser known to American teens.

Students were entertained by a Russian folk dancing group and had their first taste of Russian cuisine in St. Petersburg. Strolling through the immense Hermitage Museum-Winter Palace, the students saw artwork they never dreamed of seeing outside their textbooks and they learned history from the source ? seeing such things as the place where Rasputin was murdered. And, as they witnessed the Russian ballet, an overwhelming appreciation for beauty and culture came over them in this “Venice of the North.”

Students did not know what they were in for when they boarded a train for a 17-hour ride to Ivanovo, the city that hosted the three-day MUN conference. Swelling with nervous excitement, each student stepped off the train to meet their host family.

“When my name was called, a girl about my age stepped out of the crowd, shook my hand timidly, and after we exchanged names, she said in broken English, ‘we go to taxi, OK,’ ” said Jared Looman, one of the RAHS students.
RAHS student Joseph Craver said the conference helped him overcome his nervousness of public speaking.

“Going into the conference, I was nervous and inexperienced,” he said. “Coming out, I am still inexperienced, but the nervousness has left me.”
Delegates from Belarus, St. Petersburg, Lakenheath, Ramstein and Ivanovo came together to discuss and debate today’s world issues.

The MUN security council, for example, drafted a resolution concerning the prevention of threats to international peace and security caused by local disintegration in the Middle East and Caucasus Regions.

“There were 370 international students in suits and ties ambitiously trying to solve the problems of the world,” said Jane Garland, one of the chaperones and mothers on the trip.

After the conference, RAHS students drove through the ancient town of Suzdal ? the only one left intact from Communist times ? on their way to Moscow. They lunched in a Russian village where they were entertained by the melodies of Deacon George Lavretiev, a Russian folk singer. In Russian, the word “red” is interpreted as “beautiful,” and the students definitely saw beauty in this city’s architecture, underground train stations, Orthodox churches and the Kremlin.

“I realized how lucky I was to be an American standing in the Red Square,” said Derek Lain, a RAHS delegate.