Special to the Ledger
The college hosted an intergenerational Model United Nations session on Wednesday evening in the CoLab. The session focused on discussing global reproductive rights and health.
The college’s Model U.N. club partnered with the CoLab and the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City to host a simulation of the U.N. Economic and Social Council. Eighty students and community members participated in the evening’s session.
This was the first intergenerational Model U.N. organized by the college. Dr. Brian Wright, Professor of Political Science and advisor to the club, said the event served to train students for future events and to help the community understand what the United Nations does from a global perspective.
“Everything is international today,” Wright said. “You can’t be provincial. Understanding the international means understanding inter-relations between countries and the U.N. provides that platform.”
Each attendee acted as a delegate for a U.N. member nation. Participants caucused and voted on amendments to a resolution paper on the topics of Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Health. The delegates interacted and negotiated with one another to reach agreements on the issues.
The United States is one of the principal members of the United Nations, and one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Nicki-Joy Karstens said, president of the Model U.N. club said that as an American, being informed about global issues can have significant global impact.
“We’re such a large country with such a large influence on the world,” Karstens said.
Willem F. van Klinken, president of the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City, represented his home country of the Netherlands at the simulation. He actively promotes international education and involvement in the metro Kansas City area.
“Kansas City is a very international community, there are a lot of people who are immigrants here,” van Klinken said. “They bring their cultures, their belief systems and understanding that is very important. The U.S. impacts other nations [and] in their welfare resides our welfare. What happens somewhere else, sooner or later will impact what happens here. We cannot be blind to what happens … in other countries.”
Reproductive rights can be a sensitive subject to discuss, especially across age groups, but van Klinken stressed the value of learning new perspectives on the issue.
“We need to understand … where people come from, instead of just accusing them of archaic thoughts,” van Klinken said.
Carly Ridnor, a high school student from Summit Technology Academy who participated in the session, said she learned a lot about the state of reproductive rights in her adopted country.
“It’s fun to be interacting with different opinions,” Ridnor said. “The country that I [represented] was Gabon and they were open to family planning and everything, but they had problems with rape and it wasn’t being prosecuted as much as it should’ve been. So, that made me understand how lucky we are in America to have our judicial system.”
Jared Pemberton was also a visitor from the community. He expressed his desire to move past right-and-wrong thinking to gain new perspectives on the issue.
“We need to be awakened by looking at other countries and other viewpoints,” Pemberton said.
The event ended with six amendments being passed.
For more information about how to get involved with the college’s international communities, visit the Clubs and Organizations web page.