Students Experience United Nations At Simulation

Five students from William Woods University recently joined students from across the nation who came together to represent the countries of the world in an effort to improve the global community.

Dawn Conti, a senior from Glen Ellyn, Ill.; Blake Danner, a freshman from Columbia; Kristin Farrara, a sophomore from Hoosick Falls, N.Y.; Chris Gilbert, a senior from Salem, Ore., and Patrick Perkins, a senior from Marshall, Mo., took part in the learning experience of a Model United Nations simulation. Habiba Deming, associate professor of French, was the faculty sponsor.

The Midwest Model United Nations Conference (MMUN), held Feb. 13-16 in St. Louis, provided students an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the United Nations by playing the role of a country’s ambassador. Students gained insight into the demands placed on a representative to the United Nations.

The MMUN Conference is a simulation of the United Nations with an academic focus. The simulation complements lessons learned in the classroom; truly a “Venture in Practical Education.”

Country delegations were represented by schools, which organized teams of students to represent the country in the various parts of the simulation. Most schools combined the conference experience with academic credit.

Preparation for the conference can be demanding. Many schools begin learning about their country delegation during the fall semester or sooner. Faculty advisors often play an integral role in guiding the teams in their quest for effective role-playing.

Mirroring the United Nations, the simulation included four Committees of the General Assembly. Also included were the Security Council, World Health Organization, United Nations Environment Programme and the Economic and Social Council.

Delegations worked in committees for the initial problem-solving and diplomatic legwork, and then convened as one body in the General Assembly to produce the final statements. Those formal stances were expressed in the form of a resolution.

The work of the four Committees of the General Assembly included consideration of the following issues: The Risk of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East; the Role of Information and Communication Technology in Development; Delivery of Humanitarian Relief to Refugees; and International Terrorism, respectively. Among other issues, the Security Council tackled the question of establishing a Palestinian state.

Other aspects of the global community were covered as well, including global warming, the issue of infectious diseases, renewable energy, and the relationship of
state sovereignty to religious practice.

“This conference provided an amazing experience for everyone involved,” said Kimberly Clapp, undersecretary-general for this year’s conference. “It’s entitled Midwest Model United Nations due to its location, but colleges and universities from all across the nation participate each year.”

There were three main goals the conference pursued: to promote interest and understanding of the nations of the world; to help students gain a broader perspective of global issues and the role of the United Nations in world politics, and to encourage investigation into the field of international studies.

Clapp said the delegates produced outstanding results and, as secretary-general for next year’s conference, she looks forward to building on the progression achieved so far.

“The students really make the conference what it is,” said Clapp