HARTFORD, Conn. – For the first time in the program's 67-year history, the Connecticut National Guard helped mentor and advise more than 1,100 students from 35 high schools during the World Affairs Council of Connecticut's Model United Nations at the University of Hartford, here, Dec. 7, 2019.

The 14th Civil Support Team, out of Windsor Locks, Conn., introduced a biological warfare crisis scenario to which participants needed to formulate a resolution to bring before their peers for debate.

The organizers wanted to create a biological terror crisis for the students to respond to, said 1st Sgt. Zane Barber. Each of our Soldiers are subject matter experts in stateside response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) attacks, so this was definitely within our mission scope.

The scenario the team presented involved a vessel being stopped by the Coast Guard during a routine inspection. However, during the inspection, weaponized anthrax – intended to be used in an attack on the United States – was discovered.

This scenario wasn't based on any real-world events, said Barber. But we've worked with CBRN detection for the Coast Guard in the past on routine inspections so it wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility.

The real-world mission of the CST is to support civil authorities in the event of a domestic CBRN attack by assessing the attack's consequences and advising response measures. The team used their combined training and experience to give the students an authentic look into what goes into the detection and reaction toward an attack with weapons of mass destruction.

"It was a very worthwhile event for us," said Barber. We did this event as a two-headed effort. We wanted to offer our expertise to make it a realistic event and we were also there to help the recruiters and I think we were successful on both fronts.

This year's Model UN program – an entirely-student run simulation of the United Nations General Assembly - boasts its biggest class of student delegates with more than 60 countries being represented. In addition to the CST's scenario, students faced a long laundry list of important topics to both the local and international stage to include trade relations, human trafficking, plastic pollution, and the opioid crisis.

The goal of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut and the Model United Nations Program is to inspire today's youth to explore critical global issues and promote a greater understanding of the world.

"The greatest lesson that I've learned during my Model United Nations experience has been that passionate and driven individuals can and should come together to solve the world's issues…I understand the power of cooperation among fierce believers of peace and will continue to push to inspire young people to get involved in the world around them," said Olivia Zhang, president, Model United Nations 2019, in a press release.

To learn more about the World Affairs Council of Connecticut and how to get involved in future events, visit: https://ctwac.org/​