MSU Students Learn Global Politics at Model UN Conference

For the first time in Midwestern State University history, a team of students attended the national Model United Nations conference in New York City. Model UN is an authentic simulation of the UN General Assembly which introduces students to the world of diplomacy, negotiation, and decision making.Students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN.

The conference is attended by more than 3,500 of the top college students from around the world - more than half of those in attendance were from countries other than the United States. The conference mission is to develop the leaders of tomorrow's world. Each school is assigned the role of a country and charged with developing solutions to three pressing problems of the world today.

The MSU team of Luke Allen, Julie Brady, Laura Galbraith, Alexis Gay, Danielle Goettle, Brad Hunt, Camisha Johnson, Andrea Mendoza Lespron, Madi Parker, and Megan Piehler represented Honduras. During the conference, students tackled such problems as how to best address transnational crime, terrorism, the refuge crisis in Europe, integrate new weapons technologies into existing weapons frameworks, and sustainable development to name a few. While developing these solutions, the conference students learn diplomacy and negotiation skills. By the end of the conference each committee developed one or more solutions which required a vote by the General Assembly on the final day. For the final vote, students met in the United Nations building and students voted in the actual General Assembly sitting in the chairs typically occupied by the actual delegations of countries around the world.

Steve Garrison, chair of the political science department, said that during the week students learned to work together as a team while honing their public speaking and critical thinking skills. "Probably one of the greatest lessons is for MSU students is to realize that they are as competent as students from larger and more well-known universities," Garrison said. "This experience transformed a number of these students."

Allen was one of those students who was transformed. "I learned more about myself and grew more over those four days than any particular week of my life," Allen said. "I can honestly say that in addition to developing my ability to work with others and make my voice heard, I walked away from the conference with newfound confidence and aspirations for myself as a future professional."

Learn more about the Model UN's trip on MSU's Political Science Twitter account, twitter.com/mwsupolisci or visit the Model UN Web page at unausa.org/global-classrooms-model-un.