Humanitarian issues in North Korea, Egypt and Syria are among the conflicts TCU's Model United Nations team is focusing on in preparation for a conference in Washington, D.C.
This year, university students will represent both the Republic of Korea and Venezuela at the Model U.N. conference on Oct. 25. Last spring’s team received the Delegation of Recognition award, the program’s highest honor, for its work representing the United Kingdom and Georgia.
Scott Deskins, a senior political science major and one of the team's two head delegates, said his experience last spring was an incredible opportunity.
“It was a blast," Deskins said. "You have just so many kids from so many schools all over the world who come together to participate in a pretty unique effort.”
One of the main components of the conference is the mock Security Council. Students on the Security Council are “responsible for maintaining international peace and security,” according to the National Model U.N. (NMUN) Security Council background guide.
At the Model U.N. conference teams must negotiate to solve a global crisis. Eric Cox, associate professor of political science and director of the university's Model U.N. program, said that last spring’s simulation was about suspected chemical weapons in Syria.
According to the NMUN website, one of the possible agendas for the Security Council is “addressing the situation in North Korea.”
Much of the team's preparation will involve responding to the humanitarian issues in North Korea, Cox said.
"What we’ll try to do is, on some of the committees that are dealing with human rights topics in particular, is bring in to the extent possible the ongoing events especially in Egypt, but also what is going on in Syria now,” Cox said.
Kristina Getty, secretary-general of the NMUN D.C. conference, wrote in an email that each model committee addresses matters in its own way.
“We have separate committees with unique agenda items. It is their job to know their countries’ policies as well as to know the background and important issues relevant to the agenda items,” she said.
Model U.N. students come from universities all over the world, and by interacting with participants from different cultures and backgrounds, the Model U.N. simulates a real-world learning experience, she said.
The Model U.N. program has changed over the years following an increase in participation by international students and schools, which allows for a broader learning experience, Cox said.
What matters most is the overall collaboration and engagement of the student delegates with international affairs, Getty wrote.
“It is certainly a unique aspect of NMUN, to have such a large representation of international schools attend our conferences, and one that offers the delegates the opportunity to work with and develop friendships with diverse groups of people,” Getty wrote.
At TCU, first-year students who enroll in the Model U.N. course in the fall must also enroll in the spring course, and are then given the opportunity to attend the New York conference.
In the classes, both of which are taught by Cox, students discuss various topics related to the U.N. The overall structure of the course is the same every year, but the content changes in response to current world events, Cox said.
A TCU delegation will also be traveling to South Korea for a NMUN conference in November, followed by a return to New York next spring.