United Nations Conference unites classrooms across the world

Nicole Zukowski, News Editor

Global issues will be discussed on a international scale in New York City for 12 Wilkes students.

On March 30 to April 3 Wilkes students enrolled in PS 398 will attend the Model United Nations Conference in New York City. More than 5,000 college and university delegates come to the United Nations U.S. headquarters each spring to discuss current global issues. Half of the delegates are from outside the United States.

Delegates serve on twenty selected committees which range from playing roles as the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, or even the United Nations Security Council to name a few. The country committees are required to write position papers of how they feel about international issues.

Then they are tasked with writing resolutions which the topic committee may adapt to eventually bring the committee to a consensus. All the country committees with the same topic make up sometimes made up of over 400 people

Jezza Malik, junior international studies and Spanish double major, summarized the MUN Conference as giving “students an opportunity at a brief glimpse into the life of an international diplomat.”

Malik attended similar international conferences while in high school hosted by universities, but this is his first collegiate level conference of this type. He has an idea of what is expected of delegates at MUN.

“You are required to barter, negotiate, and cooperate with other states in order to write ‘draft resolutions’ to topics of debate, as well as be able to present to the entire committee,” Malik said. “MUN not only requires delegates to get outside of their comfort zone, but it also forces one to look at life from a different perspective as the representative of a country he/she may know nothing about.”

Wilkes was assigned to represent the delegation of Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa. Somalia is bordered by Ethiopia and Kenya with the major bodies of water of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Fortunately Dr. Merryman, the professor teaching this course, specializes in Somali history and culture, having spent several years working in East Africa.

The location of the majority of the conferences is held at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. The Closing Ceremony is customarily held at United Nations headquarters.

“I am looking forward to networking opportunities, learning experiences, and better understanding the function of the UN as a whole,” political science and Spanish double major Emily Absalom said. “I feel it is important for us students to attend the conference as it allows us the opportunity to participate in United Nations simulations.”

The conference will give the political science class a good opportunity to take part in exercises in consensus building and negotiation of global interaction.

Entire delegations or individual delegates can win awards at the end of the conference for papers submitted. The recognitions are ranked as first being “outstanding” second as “distinguished” or third as “honorable mention.” The conference is hosted by the National Collegiate Conference Association every year.