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The Scarlet & Black

Model United Nations Represents

Members of Model United Nations participated in the annual American Model United Nations Conference in Chicago, Ill. Photo contributed.

After meeting on Mondays in JRC 225 for many weeks in preparation, Grinnell’s Model United Nations club finally attended the annual Chicago’s American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference.  This club typically attends two conferences each year, one convention in the fall as well as another in spring.

Very similar to a mock trial, the AMUN organization assigns the students, or delegates, a country and committee to represent in the convention. The delegates are left to research the chosen topics of the country on their own and play its role in realistic simulations of the United Nations.

Many delegates thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“I’ve been doing Model UN for seven years and I feel it helps give a better view on the world, improve public speaking and understand world politics. This year Grinnell did great and I felt we worked great as a team,” said Tommy Katucki ’16, captain delegate.

Members of Model United Nations participated in the annual American Model United Nations Conference in Chicago, Ill. Photo contributed.
Members of Model United Nations participated in the annual American Model United Nations Conference in Chicago, Ill. Photo contributed.

Representing delegates from dozens of different nations, participants in the convention are divided among various committees that cover issues ranging from war, armed conflicts, weapon use, AIDs prevention and many human rights issues. Some Grinnellians this year were situated in the Sixth Committee, which discussed the prosecution of peacekeepers and the rule of law in Somalia and Montenegro.

Sara Ashbaugh ’18, an award-winning delegate in the Sixth Committee for the country of Montenegro, said arguing for this topic was very fun and it was interesting learning from another country’s perspective.

“Montenegro was a good country, it was more eastern, more associated with Russia and Serbia, and so it doesn’t have as much of a western perspective like America. It was interesting arguing from that perspective, it takes you out of your own bias.”

Debating with people from various colleges like Truman State University and the University of Chicago, there were a variety of perspectives and arguments. Interestingly enough, Ashbaugh commented that the delegates were so serious they often did not know each other’s names and addressed each other by country name.

Spending hours debating and negotiating in committees in order to receive majority rule for their decisions, Grinnellians had a tiring but great time fighting for their country’s views. In addition to their experience with the conference in Chicago, delegates had the opportunity to experience Chicago’s Ferguson protest from right outside their hotel window.

“When the indictment was made, the protest for it went right down Michigan Avenue, a street our hotel was on. It was a noteworthy experience aside from the time we spent in the committee,” said James Dowell ’15.

Overall, the simulation of the United Nations offered a great memory and experience for all Grinnellians present.

“It was just an experience walking down the streets in suits and ties and preparing for something you worked hard for. I’m proud of how well we did this year and the members who won awards,” Dowell said.

Ashbaugh and Katucki also agreed that it was fun in high school and continues to be fun in college.

“I enjoyed it a lot. From this we grew a lot as people, as a team and as friends in this amazing event. The whole thing was fun, getting yelled at by people, thinking up good ideas and frustrating other delegates, or even debating with others on YikYak made it all a great experience,” Katucki said.

The Grinnell Model UN club welcomes all students to their meetings and loves to include members who are willing to commit to the work. They are all looking forward to having more members join and experience a different way of learning about world politics and public speaking.

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