January 31, 2018 - 9:15am
Conference takes place February 9-10, during Global Citizens Week
Things are about to get very diplomatic in Nanaimo, as Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Model United Nations Club prepares to host its second annual model UN conference February 9-10.
A Model United Nations, also known as MUN, is an educational experience where students roleplay as delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. Students discuss topics that are relevant to current events from the perspective of the countries they are representing. The conference is open to both university and high school students, and more than 60 students are registered so far.
“It’s a really good learning experience, especially if you’re interested in going into political studies or perhaps one day becoming a politician,” says Elissa Doerksen, Director of Media Marketing and Corporate Relations for the VIU MUN Club.
“It not only expands your knowledge on certain countries’ political standpoints, it also helps improve your debating skills. It heightens participants’ awareness about events happening in the world, and teaches how to debate and create solutions to international issues as a team.”
Participants can choose to represent countries at either the General Assembly or Security Council tables. There will also be an International Press Corps charged with representing different media outlets and tasked with interviewing delegates, reporting on the happenings of committees and analyzing conference developments. Participants dress formally and follow clearly outlined rules of procedure.
“Last year, students got really into it and transformed completely into character for the country they were representing,” says Doerksen. “It gave people a good idea about what a real-world UN conference is like.”
VIU MUN 2018 takes place during Global Citizens Week, an annual week filled with campus events, visiting speakers and classroom dialogues that explore issues of global development at home and abroad. This year the theme of the week is Solidarity in Action, and in honour of this theme, MUN participants will debate topics such as human rights of LGBTQ people, displacement of people due to climate change, prevention of human trafficking, and ending the humanitarian crisis and violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
“Not only are these topics controversial, but they are also extremely topical to the society we live in today,” says Stephanie Pastro, Secretary General. “Our organizers have worked tirelessly to ensure a wide variety of topics for delegates to tackle. Model United Nations may not directly change the world but it prepares the leaders of tomorrow, training them to be diplomatic and innovative in the solutions they provide. At VIU MUN 2018 we hope to help delegates recognize their full potential and harness it in a way that furthers the world.”
The two-day conference will include opening ceremonies, committee sessions and a mock press conference. Each delegate must submit a position paper in advance outlining the foreign policy, opinions and diplomacy of the country on the presented topics. Visit the VIU MUN website to register or learn more.
To learn more about VIU’s Political Studies program, visit the program homepage.
Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University