Youth In Government EXPO

YIG-EXPO is a three-day residential experiential learning program where high school students can explore multiple facets of public service through realistic simulations of government agencies.  This program examines local government, national security, and diplomacy pathways giving students hands-on experiences and an opportunity to explore government sector careers with field experts.

Conference Details



  • Georgia United Nations Assembly (GUNA) is a simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about civics, effective communication, globalization and, multilateral diplomacy.
  • In GUNA, students take on roles as ambassadors and participate in a simulated session of an intergovernmental organization.
  • Participants research a country, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.
  • During a simulation they must employ a variety of communications and critical thinking skills to defend and advance the policies of their country.
  • This program is designed for students in grades 9 - 12.
  • When possible, we bring in a living Holocaust Survivor to meet with students and share their story.

What Students Gain at GUNA

  • Expanded awareness of the world and world issues.
  • New friends, confidence, fun, and a great time with a purpose.
  • Experience with communication, consensus building, and compromise so important in international affairs.

National Security

In an ever changing world, national security has become one of the top priorities of the any government. Guaranteeing the safety of American citizens requires the efforts of many (SSINSS7). Members of the National Security Council must analyze collected data (GPA-GPAF-6) and make decisions while weighing their ethical consequences (SSINSS6). National security often involves making the choice with the least negative impacts to the lives of civilians, relationships with the global community, or threat of future violence, all while maintaining professionalism (GPA-GPAF-1).


Intelligence gathering is a part of international relations that has existed since before the founding of the United States. While it has evolved over the years, the general issues have stayed the same. Data must be gathered using methods which make it useful to those making decisions (SSINSS3) while also staying within the bounds of the clearance levels involved (GPA-GPAF-5). Once the data has been collected and analyzed, decision-making typically requires ethical considerations which are difficult at best (GPA-GPAF-12).

The emergence of cybersecurity threats has been of more concern in recent years than ever before. Due to the nature of globalization and the Internet, dealing with these threats is a grey area that is difficult to address. With generally clear boundaries in land, air, and sea, it is easy to determine who owns any given space; intruding upon that space can come with consequences. It is not so easy to demarcate to whom cyberspace belongs and what consequences can come from encroaching on that space (GPA-GPAF-4). International relationships have become complicated by this new factor, and international (as well as domestic) laws struggle to catch up to ever-changing elements of cyberspace (GPA-GPAF-2).

Military Strategy as both Offense and Defense

The globalized community present today presents its own set of challenges to the National Security Council. The military is often involved in addressing these challenges: both providing homeland defense and acting to showcase the might of the American government (SSCG12). Clearly defining under which category any action falls can be difficult. Military leaders are involved in these discussions to ensure that the power of the American military is being used appropriately and which keeps its members safe (GPA-GPAF-11).

National Security Exercise

The National Security Academy is intended to provide students with the opportunity to analyze and respond to a variety of international events which pose actual or potential threats to the security of the United States. In addition to the content knowledge associated with the National Security standards, students will also gain soft skills associated with any career they wish to enter. Instructional time in the form of preparatory lessons and debriefs which utilize level 3 and 4 DOK levels will serve to enhance and reinforce the knowledge gained during the simulations.


Policy Creation

The creation and maintenance of policy is one of the most crucial activities of any local government. They are the branch of government closest to the people and must be prepared to act in a variety of situations, from long-term planning to short-term response (GPA-GPAA-2). The various departments must work together to determine the most reasonable course of action to address the situation in which their community finds itself (GPA-GPAA-7).

Crisis Response

The response of a local government during an emergency differs from its other policy decisions. The council has less time to consider and must make the best possible choice for all its citizens in a short amount of time (GPA-GPAA-4). The safety of their citizens is the council’s top priority, and they have to consider how every decision they make might impact other factors of the emergency situation. With all this, they must also consider the long-term impacts which their short-term decisions might have, especially when considering budget (GPA-GPAA-3).

Planning and Infrastructure

Many decisions that a local government make have long-term consequences, but the creation and maintenance of infrastructure is often the most long-term work being done. Due to the cost of building large-scale infrastructure, it is typically built with the plan to have it in place for many years to come (GPA-GPAA-8). Because of this, the local government must make wise spending decisions so that the money is spent in the most effective way and can last as long as necessary.

Weighing the Government’s Role

As the branch of government most closely related to the people, local governments must be particularly responsive to their needs and opinions (SSCG17). They must make decisions for the good of the community as a whole without destroying the rights of those who disagree (SSCG7). With every decision the government makes, they must act with professionalism and use effective decision-making skills to maintain good relationships with the community which so closely surrounds them (GPA-GPAA-1).

Service Leadership

Local governments are typically the most involved with and responsive to the needs of their people because their people are so much closer to them. Every decision made by a local government is under intense scrutiny because of its public nature. Whether creating policy or dealing with emergencies, the local government leaders must make decisions while considering how those decisions will impact every element of the local community. Students will participate in simulations which teach them about the roles of local government as well as soft skills such as communication, negotiation, problem solving, and critical thinking (GPA-GPAA-1).