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The Scarlet & Black

Model UN holds simulation

As they made their way through the dining hall in their black skirts and occasionally pinstriped suits, over 30 Grinnellians prepared themselves last Friday and Saturday for hours of debate, negotiation and grueling parliamentary procedure.

The Model United Nations club typically meets from the beginning of the school year until the All-America Model United Nations conference in Chicago in November. However, according to club co-leader Paul Carlson ’11, Grinnell’s Model United Nation organizes an extra simulation to stay sharp for competition year round.

Paul Carlson '11 represents the Democratic People's Republic of Korea during Model UN's Security Council simulation on Sunday in the Forum South Lounge. Photo taken by Abraham Kohrman.

“Model UN is a lot like mock trial. You’re assigned a country or you’re assigned a committee of a country. And you have to research your country’s positions on the topics being discussed,” Carlson said.

In preparation for the Chicago convention, all participants are divided amongst the various committees typically represented in the United Nations. These committees tackle issues such as human trafficking, the war on drugs and AIDs prevention.

This weekend’s event was a simulation of one committee in particular: the UN Security Council. This group of delegates from 15 different nations comes together to discuss and debate the most pressing issues concerning global security. The Security Council is composed of 5 permanent member nations: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. The remaining 10 countries enjoy a position on the Council on a rotating basis.

Carlson said that it is common for Grinnell’s peer schools to attend two conferences: the Chicago convention held in the fall, and then another conference, which normally takes place in the spring.

“Every November we go to the American Model United Nations in Chicago. We brought 22 participants. Most years we attend a second out-of-state conference usually the Midwest MUN in St. Louis, or the Harvard National MUN in Boston but both of those are rather expensive and very hard to organize,” Carlson said.

Carlson explained that while it may not be as satisfying to hold the spring MUN conference on campus, it allows an unlimited number of people to participate and it acts as a great opportunity for Grinnellians to keep their public speaking skills in top shape.
Sam Mulopolus ’14, said that this event lived up to every expectation he had for it, and then some.

“I represented the United States of America. It was an excellent experience. Debating North Korea, and the recent referendum in Sudan. It’s a lot of fun and you learn a lot,” he said. “The United States has a major role to play in both of these issues and you know it’s important to take that leading role and spearhead initiatives and resolutions to get the job done.”

Co-leader Anuraag Bhadana 11, said that this event was a great send-off to his four years as both a Model UN participant and leader.

“I had no experience with MUN before getting involved my second semester my first year. The way the club is set up it’s very inclusive to people who have never done this before. They don’t just pick people who have lots of experience and can do a good job but rather people who want to do a good job and are sincere to it,” Bhadana said.

Both Bhadana and Carlson emphasized that the club is always looking for new members and opportunities for travel, great discussion, and learning about the world are all a part of the Grinnell Model United Nations experience.

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