1. Description of Our Team
We are three members of McLean High School’s Model United Nations club. Our team is comprised of Fouad (16), Luke (17), and Nick (18), as well as our sponsor Mrs. Ruff. We learned about this project through our school’s computer science department and found it fascinating, as it pertains to both our interest in diplomacy and foreign policy as well as web design and aesthetics. Mrs. Ruff was happy to accommodate our request to be our coach, despite the time commitment and the fact that the project was being done mostly outside of school. She provided us with avenues to reputable sources and aided us in distinguishing the useful from the interesting, but unrelated. With our experience in Model United Nations, we already knew the basics of international security and its pertinence to the United States, so we settled on a topic that was conducive to our expertise. Fouad handled the web layout and design as well as the coding of the website, while Luke and Nick developed the content. We all shared in brainstorming ideas like the Crisis Map and the news feed, as well as the particular topics to cover and how to do so. We agreed that a news feed that targets relevant issues in real time is an invaluable companion to our overview of the global crises pertaining to international security, and we selected a variety of sources that we felt gave an accurate portrayal of the current state of each crisis through the eyes of journalists. During the later phase of the project, it moved with its own momentum, with new ideas being built upon the progress of older ones, and we had minimal involvement with our sponsor. Still, every resource was invaluable and the cohesion of the final result is a testament to that.
2. Summary of Our Project
We narrowed down International Security to several key issues at the forefront of international concern, namely, nuclear proliferation, cyber terrorism, and small arms trafficking. The first two of these threats are major concerns for the leading developed states in particular, and small arms are oil to the fires of many brutal conflicts in the developing world. However, these are all interconnected, international issues that draw the attention of those committed to stability and peaceful conflict resolution. The nature of nuclear weapons is such that the target is never the only affected area; not only is the blast zone wide enough to wipe out certain countries, but the even wider desiccation zone makes neighboring territory uninhabitable for years, and fallout, given the right weather patterns, can affect land hundreds of miles away from the site of impact. This makes nuclear proliferation a cause for concern to every person on earth, as no one is truly outside the area of risk, and the risk posed is astronomical.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Due to the fact that our team consisted of two juniors and a senior, the amount of time that we had to meet and plan our project was very limited. We had to utilize whatever time we had available to work on the project.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
By creating a resource for international security that updates in real time, we have established a place for those wishing to get involved with these issues to research and understand them.
6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
While we are students, this competition was not a part of any class, and therefore does not fulfill a coursework requirement. We decided to work on this as an extracurricular venture out of interest in the subject alone. That being said, we applied a similar standard of editing to our content that we would to schoolwork.