Model UN team to compete in Boston

From Thursday through Sunday, 14 Youngstown State University students will take on about 3,000 competitors from around the world in this year’s Harvard National Model United Nations conference.

Model UN is an academic simulation of the United Nations. Its purpose is to educate participants about the rules, procedures and processes of the international organization of countries.

YSU’s Model UN team has been an active organization since the early 1970s, and has earned awards from the previous 44 conferences. Now, members are looking to put their name on the national stage once again.

Cory Okular, president of the YSU Student Government Association and a member of YSU’s Model UN team, said he is wishing for a positive outcome.

“We are hoping for success at Harvard and to come home with a few awards, but, with top competition, it will be tough,” he said.

Okular will compete as part of the European Court of Human Rights. He said he believes YSU will have a strong showing.

“Our team will be in the same committees as students from Ivy League schools, and in the past, we have performed well and created a name for our university in the Model United Nations world,” he said. “We hope to do the same this year.”

David Porter, a professor of political science and the team’s adviser, said he has high expectations for YSU’s team.

“Model United Nations is a great educational experience. It gives students one of the brightest opportunities to experience throughout college. After the competition, the students come out confident,” Porter said.

Andrew Webster, a foreign affairs major and president of YSU’s Model UN team, said he believes the upcoming competition is a wonderful opportunity, adding that he’s looking forward to competing in Boston. This is the second year that YSU’s Model UN team will be competing in the Harvard conference.

“Last year was the first year we ever competed at Harvard. We went in to the competition blinded. However, we now know what to expect,” Webster said. “It says a lot about Youngstown State University and the people to be capable of going and competing against such prestigious schools.”