Model UN set for international conference

Youngstown State University’s Model United Nations will be hitting the road for the Lake Erie International United Nations Program. Members will be competing in the international conference, held just outside of Cleveland that begins on Thursday and will run through Nov. 3.

During the conference, which is to be held at the Doubletree by Hilton, the MUN will present their solutions to a number of modern-day global issues. Jordan Wolfe, the organization’s president, said MUN challenges its members to use various methods of critical thinking to help formulate these solutions.

“The Model United Nations is essentially a mock United Nations. The MUN is split into committees that have a focus on certain areas of expertise. Depending on what country a person is assigned, this opportunity allows the student to research on issues that the common student in any field may not know. In doing so, MUN elevates the level of thinking on global issues by anyone who participates,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said the MUN collectively believes that many of today’s international issues are overlooked in the mass media and their goal is to create an awareness of those issues.

“We believe that many important international issues are passed up briefly on the news, and MUN allows for any person to have a basic understanding of why certain events happen.  The goals of our MUN program is to promote the education on these foreign affairs, as well as have fun while doing it,” Wolfe said.

The MUN is made of a variety of majors including political science, criminal justice and engineering. Wolfe explained that the variety of students from all different walks of life is very similar to that of the actual United Nations and the diversity provides a good reflection of the university.

“There are traditional and nontraditional students that have been participating, and interest in the group has been higher this year than in the recent past. What is great is the diversity of the organization, as we have University Scholars, Greeks and members of other organizations that help give different faces to the program,” Wolfe said.

Dr. David Porter is the advisor to YSU’s MUN. He’s been participating in it for over four decades now and said the program has crucially impacted him both as a student and as an educator.

“As a student, the program developed my oral, writing and critical thinking skills. As an educator, the program has enabled me to reach out to students and provide them a unique experience. Model UNs are based on simulation and role playing educational pedagogy,” Porter said.

“I have taken a lot away from my experience with MUN,” Wolfe added. “It has allowed me to cooperate with people better, because all of those who participate try to reach an end goal. There is more to MUN besides the committees, as most conferences host events for the delegates.”

Porter added that alumni even comment on how the MUN has affected their careers.

“Regularly, alum comment on how the program helped develop their individual skills, gave them experience working with others towards a common goal, increased their sensitivity and awareness of other countries and cultures, and finally gave them a better understanding of global politics and policies,” Porter said.

Chelsea Stafford will be representing the nation of France at this year’s conference. She said she’s very excited to take part in the conference again.

“I’m extremely excited! This is my third time participating in the Lake Erie International conference,” Stafford said. “I’m part of the Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which is an actual committee in the real United Nations.”

She said she looks forward to meeting new and interesting people at the conference.

“I have met students from Bosnia, France, all over. It’s really a great experience, you feel like you’re a real ambassador. And it can often become intense and emotional,” Stafford said.

MUN will be competing in a variety of categories at the conference including Portrayal of Country, Caucusing and Resolution Writing, and Debate and Preliminary Procedure. YSU has won over 300 individual and team awards over the past 25 years.