Model United Nations team gears up for its eighth competition


Hope Brusstar, Copy Editor

Since 2001, students from all disciplines and cultural backgrounds have teamed up to study and practice diplomacy in preparation for the ultimate competition: a five-day United Nations conference in New York City that attracts the brightest students from countries around the world.

  On the first day, students represent countries in committees modeled directly after the U.N.’s own policy-making bodies, giving speeches in front of hundreds of people and negotiating current global issues with dozens of other delegates. Teams and individuals with the best performances, both in the level of professionalism and in the content of their resolutions, receive awards on the last day of the conference during a ceremony held in the U.N. General Assembly Hall.

  “Model U.N. is a great way to get more knowledge about world politics,” said UNO’s Model United Nations Club president Milan Holman. “It’s not just learning, but actually participating and coming up with ideas to solve problems worldwide. Role-playing as a country is a very interesting and unique experience, which, especially at conference, can be very hectic, but it [is] very, very rewarding.”

  UNO students who are accepted on the team will be tasked with personifying delegates from a particular country. They spend the spring semester researching its views and writing a paper that concerns their assigned U.N. committee. Various committees handle topics including international security, humanitarian efforts, refugee aid, environmental efforts and more.

  “[Model U.N.] is a great way to learn,” said Holman. “[Even] if you know the ins and outs of the U.N., you’ll still learn more.”

  To help demonstrate key lessons in foreign relations, the club often plans guest lectures with experts. These guests’ careers are directly involved with the field, so they can offer advantageous insights into understanding diplomacy, particularly in regards to their own country. For example, in March, Haitian ambassadors visited the delegation, where they discussed the state of the country and its foreign policies. The 2017 delegation also featured a Skype chat with former U.S. ambassador Paula White.

  The Model U.N. class offered at UNO will teach students the skills they need for the New York conference.

  “As president, I will be partially in charge of teaching the class, and [I will] help guide and prepare the students during both class time and conference,” Holman says. “Luckily I have a good executive board and a great advisor behind me to help.”

  Dr. John Hazlett and Dr. James Mokhiber are the current faculty advisors for the team, and the  executive board for the 2017-2018 academic year includes Vice President Daniel Lamplugh, Public Relations Officer Hannah Mohr, Treasurer Lana Mitwali, Secretary Amelia Madueno and longtime Graduate Advisor Amanda Mancilla.

  The executive board has hosted a number of information sessions about Model U.N. and is planning its fundraising efforts to finance the trip to New York. They are discussing the class syllabus and schedule and accepting applications from interested students. Students can pick up applications or request them by email.

  “If anyone would like more information they can always email us at [email protected] or stop by in Dr. Hazlett’s office in International Building room 117,” Holman said.

  The deadline to apply is Sunday, Oct. 1.

  “Even after the deadline … keep those applications coming!” Holman said. “Even if you aren’t sure about your skills, still apply if you’re interested. A large part of the class is to prepare you and help you with those skills. Don’t be afraid to try!”

  Qualifications include “dedication and interest, mostly,” notes Holman. “Of course, being able to get your point across in a speech or in writing is important too, but that will be taught during the class, while the motivation to learn and do your best is something [you must already] have.”

  Every member has a strong sense of dedication, because from start to finish, participation in the Model U.N. team is very involving. The team’s Instagram, @unomodelun, offers a view of the many activities that engage delegates. A delegate’s journey starts with the application and interview process, buds with the country reveal party in the winter and flourishes during the class held in the spring.

  “Model U.N. really is a fun journey from beginning to end, from finding out the [country] we will be representing at our annual country reveal party to the conference, and everything in between,” Holman said. “It is an adventure which I’d recommend that everyone try to take.”