The Model UN club at NC State, recently revived by sophomore political science major, Jacob Trubey, is open to all NC State students interested in international politics. The organization hosts weekly simulations that address international issues, real or fictional. Past topics have included global disease, climate change, and terrorism. Members of Model UN also attend conferences. Conference participants generally have at least several weeks to research an assigned topic and strategize. At most conferences, a delegate’s goal is to develop a strategy that reflects their position on the assigned topic and then execute a plan that benefits either themselves or the simulated deliberative body to which they are assigned (e.g., UN Security Council or World Trade Organization).
Participation in this process hones skills that are critically important in all sectors of professional endeavor – public, private, and nonprofit. For example, team members must learn how to advocate effectively, analyze power differentials to exploit or mitigate them, build and manage coalitions, and secure and manage resources. Club members develop critical debate, compromise, and negotiation skills that require both creativity and the ability to see things through the eyes of their opponents. The simulations require individuals to think on their feet in order to resolve problems inherent in their resolutions and defend against the actions of delegations that oppose their resolutions. Furthermore, they allow students interested in the organization’s travel team to compete against delegates from other schools in various competitions across the country. This semester, members of the travel team participated in conferences at Emory University and the University of Florida.
Ten members of Model UN at NC State attended the sixth annual Emory University Model UN conference from March 1-4, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. They assumed various identities, ranging from government officials and the leaders of social movements to entire countries, and served on committees that discussed issues within the context of various historical, contemporary, and fictional events. For example, committees at this year’s conference included “Dissolution of the EU 2025”, “FIFA 2018”, and “North Korean Nuclear Proliferation and Cybersecurity”. Sara Darwish, a sophomore studying Social Work and Arabic, and the current Vice President of Model UN worked on the committee focused on South African apartheid, where they discussed racism, nationalism, and African heritage in the context of restructuring South Africa and worked together to create a new South African constitution and elect a new President.
Jacob Trubey sat on the Ad Hoc committee, which was formed for the most daring members of the conference. The debate topic wasn’t released until the first day of the conference, leaving the committee members with little time for research. This year’s topic was Brexit. Trubey reflected on his experience, “Ad Hoc saw the end of the United Kingdom as we know it. Theresa May’s government oversaw the rise of a militant ultranationalist, anti-European movement in the streets of London. It was a great time.” After debating the merits of continued EU membership for both Britain and the EU, the Ad Hoc committee failed to reach any kind of agreement once every member pursued their own self-interest and abandoned any semblance of a unified goal.
Club members agreed that the conference was a lot of fun. “For being my first conference I was not really sure what to expect,” said Taylor Norton, a sophomore studying political science. “The people in our group really made the trip wonderful.” Norton was on the Tudors committee, which represented English court politics at the time of Henry VIII. The Catholic-Anglican spit was a central issue of this group. Child monarchs and pretender rebels were plenty.
The Emory conference was the second out-of-state competition attended by Model UN at NC State. In February, ten different members attended the Florida Crisis Simulation at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Despite many competitors having years of previous Model UN experience, our members held their own in debate and in some cases, succeeded in out-politicking even the strongest and most experienced opponents.
Model UN is planning to attend two conferences next fall: UNCMUNC at Chapel Hill and BARMUN at Boston University. Interested students should email email@example.com for more.
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