By HEATHER HUMPHRE
BYU students will discuss pressing international issues and conflicts, write resolutions, and compromise to pass resolutions with students from academic institutions all over the nation.
On March 30, 55 BYU students will go to New York City to defend their top five ranking in a National Model United Nations Conference.
Sponsored by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, BYU students will compete with over 1,200 students from about 130 schools nationwide, making this Model U.N. Conference the largest in the country.
Last year, BYU competed with Georgetown, Colombia, West Point, U.C. Berkeley, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and many other prestigious schools.
“The experience that I’ve gotten there has been incredible because it has led to many opportunities,” said Debbie Robinson, the assistant director of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the conference who has attended the conference for three years.
The conference is beneficial because it puts 1,200 people together and requires that they get along and compromise to settle the differences of the countries they represent and find solutions to pressing world problems, added Robinson.
The Model U.N. is a conference designed to provide students with a close simulation of the actual United Nations by assigning each school a country to represent in groups based on actual U.N. committees and agencies. Each mock committee is based on the size of the actual committee.
“The key component of the program is that it teaches students about the work of nations by teaching diplomacy, which is a skill that transfers over into any chosen field,” said Cory Leonard, assistant director of Student Programs for the Kennedy Center.
This year BYU students will represent the United States in discussing current international issues facing the Security Council, the General Assembly, the World Health Organization, the Commission on Human Rights, the World Bank, the International Court of Justice, and many other United Nations agencies and committees.
Two BYU student delegates, Jennifer Hogge, a masters student in public policy and international relations major Daniel Livingston, have the honor of sitting on the International Court of Justice, a committee of only nine members.
Attendees of the conference will represent their country’s self-interests and concerns pertaining to the committees they are on.
The committees will order the topics to be discussed, address topics of interest and concern, write resolutions, give speeches, and build coalitions to influence the passing of resolutions pertaining to their country’s interests.
After the conference, these resolutions will be submitted to the United Nations as recommendations for current issues.
“It’s gotten me a lot more interested in international affairs and international relations, which has become my first choice for the kind of law I want to practice; international law,” said Paul Dozier, a senior studying economics and attendee of the conference.
Conference participants are chosen based on academic evaluation, course work evaluation, commitment, performance in the mock U.N. High School Conference, interview, public speaking and diplomacy skills.
Those students selected are required to take a course which serves to prepare them for this experience