Isabelle Chevier Jargowsky, a 16-year-old junior at Richardson High School, has just become the new secretary-general for the United Nations â?? the Global Elementary Model United Nations Simulation, that is.
She makes executive decisions, standardizes procedure and delegates responsibility. But unlike Kofi Annan's, Isabelle's decisions don't influence the fate of the world ... just yet.
Isabelle had only one condition before accepting the position: "I wanna bang that gavel."
"It's a power trip."
About 300 students from across the country and Mexico came to the organization's 2006 annual conference, held every May at Mountain View College in Dallas. Next year, as secretary-general, Isabelle will be in charge of making sure everything and everybody is in its place.
Isabelle doesn't really consider herself in charge of all 300 members. "But as far as facilitating everything goes, yeah, that's up to me," she said.
The role-playing gives students elementary through high school age the chance to study global issues, current events and different cultures. Delegate or secretariat students represent assigned countries â?? socially and politically.
"One time I was Bosnian," Isabelle said, "and I wore a head scarf. And it was fantastic because I didn't have to do anything to my hair.
"A lot of it is picking countries you know nothing about," she said. "You really do simulate the role of the United Nations."
Students participate in the same types of committees and make the same types of decisions that U.N. delegates face.
Last year, Isabelle chaired the committee for the Commission on the Status of Women and worked on resolutions to increase women's education, legal rights, government presence and social status.
"Two-thirds of the world's refugees are women and children," Isabelle said. "Women are in extreme poverty levels ... we work on ways to help."
Global Elementary Model United Nations Simulation was started at the Robert Muller School in Arlington 17 years ago. Each year, the program trains a new generation of leaders to think diplomatically and solve problems peacefully.
"The kids really love what they're doing at conference," said Marti Cockrell, program coordinator at the Robert Muller School. "It's what they've practiced all year."
Only a handful of kids at Richardson High are currently involved, which has Isabelle on the recruiting trail. But having been a part of the program for seven years, she feels a particular obligation to the younger participants.
"I love working with them," Isabelle said. "And I owe it to them to do the best job I can."
She said the program teaches global understanding and compassion.
"And that's something that America and America's youth particularly need right now," Isabelle said. "It's something that everyone can benefit from."