by J.T. Buchheit
On the second floor of OCB, there are plaques lining the wall with names of countries on them. These plaques represent the accomplishments of the Model United Nations club on campus, run by Brian Wright, professor of political science.
“What the Model U.N. does is actually simulate the workings of the United Nations itself,” said Wright. “My students basically learn to be diplomats.”
The Model U.N. is given a country to represent and discuss the issues relating to that country. They go to cities around the U.S. to talk about them with other schools’ Model U.N. groups’ respective countries. Students in the club recently returned from St. Louis, where they represented France.
“[The students] have to research France’s positions on different topic areas, so for example, human rights development or disarmament issues, and then they have to represent France’s policies on those committees,” said Wright.
One student, Nicki Joy Karstens, has not yet transferred to a university because she enjoys the Model U.N. so much.
“I love it,” said Karstens. “I was a really introverted, shy person before I joined Model U.N., and it kind of taught me about people, and I learned a lot of useful things like how to write stuff in official language and how to read things in official language.”
The organization was able to instill confidence in Karstens, allowing her to travel the world.
“Through my involvement with the Model U.N. and building up my confidence a bit, I was able to study abroad in Austria,” she said. “It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Karstens has been in the Model U.N. every semester she has been at the college, and representing France has been her favorite part of it so far.
“France is one of the big five countries, so they have a lot of influence in the U.N.,” she said. “There are countries that are harder to find policy on, and France is a pretty easy one to find policy on.”
Every year, the Model U.N. goes to Chicago, St. Louis and New York, in that order. They represent different countries along the way. In April, the team will be headed to the city of New York, where they will represent Kenya.
“I think the team is well-prepared to represent Kenya,” said Wright. “I think they’ll do an excellent job. We always do.”
Karstens encourages everyone interested in joining the organization to give it a shot.
“Just come to a meeting,” she said. “We’re all really friendly and enthusiastic to have new people. So just come to a meeting and stick with it. It is a lot of work, but you get a lot out of it as well.”
For more information on Model U.N., visit their website.