Eastern Michigan University
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Model UN

Model UN promotes awareness of international issues and conflicts, and also instills an appreciation of the critical role of the United Nations in resolving conflicts and forging collective responses to global problems. EMU involvement dates to the 1970s, when students organized a Model UN conference through the Great Lakes Invitational Conference Association.

The EMU Model UN program was formalized in 1992 with the addition of a course on the United Nations. Strong student interest led to the creation of a Model UN Club in 2000. Since then, EMU's Model UN team has been composed of two groups of students, those who are members of the club (the United Nations Student Alliance, UNSA) and those enrolled in the Model UN course, PLSC 343L.

EMU at Model United Nations Conferences

The primary focus of both the club and class is to prepare students to participate in Model United Nations conferences, which consist of a realistic simulation of a session of the United Nations. In recent years, we have sent delegations to the annual American Model United Nations (AMUN) in Chicago and the National Model United Nations (NMUN) in New York. EMU delegations have received numerous awards for outstanding diplomatic representation.

In New York, where more than 5,000 students participate (half from outside the United States), EMU students at NMUN have had the opportunity to have private briefings with diplomats from the UN Missions of the countries we are representing, and the concluding session of the conference is typically held in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations building.

Model UN Program Description and Background

At Model UN conferences, delegations of college students represent the 193 nations of the world in the various bodies and councils of the UN, including the Security Council, the General Assembly, the six main committees of the General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council. In committee and council sessions, the students represent the positions of their countries on actual issues currently being considered by the United Nations.

Students engage in formal debate on such topics, discuss them informally in caucus, and draft resolutions that specify actions to be taken and programs to be implemented. To be adopted, resolutions must be supported by a majority of states in the General Assembly. Ideally, they should be adopted by all, or nearly all, members. In order to build consensual support for a resolution, student delegates must engage in extensive discussions and negotiations – just like the actual policy process of the United Nations.

The Wider Reach and Benefits of Model UN at EMU

By participating in Model UN, students enjoy a "hands-on" learning experience that significantly augments their education. They acquire expertise on international issues and conflicts, as well as knowledge of multilateral diplomacy and the operations of the UN. They also develop speaking and negotiation skills and learn how to work with others to solve real world problems.

Participation in the EMU Model UN program instills a deep understanding of international institutions, collective security, and multilateral diplomacy in future leaders, thus contributing to public awareness of, and support for, peaceful approaches to the resolution of international conflicts. Empowered with knowledge of world affairs and enhanced skills, EMU students have become important leaders and agents for change.

Recent activities

- In November 2015, EMU students will travel to Chicago with Profs. Ebrahim Soltani and Richard Stahler-Sholk to represent Yemen and Malaysia at the American Model United Nations (AMUN) conference. Topics on the agenda include prohibition of chemical weapons, food security, protection of migrants, measures to eliminate terrorism, action against gender-related killing of women and girls, and the impact of information & communication technology on Arab youth, among others.

- In Fall 2015, EMU students will be serving on staff for the Southeast Michigan Model United Nations Association (SEMMUNA) high school conference in Royal Oak.
- In March 2015, an EMU delegation traveled to New York to represent Somalia at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference, winning a Distinguished Delegation award.
- In February 2015, EMU represented Oman and Somalia at the Model Arab League conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, winning two “Best Delegate” awards.

Accomplishments of recent Model UN alums

Among some of the things our recent Model UN alumni have gone on to do:
- State Department internship, Peace Corps in Ukraine, and Masters of Public Policy program at University of Michigan

- PhD program in Political Science at University of Massachusetts-Amherst

- Masters programs in International Affairs at Georgetown University, NYU, American University, University of Pittsburgh,    University of Denver

- Masters in International Social Welfare at Columbia University, then Communications & Advocacy Advisor at One Million Community Health Workers Campaign

- Internship with UNWOMEN, organized food crisis and flood relief for Republic of Niger

-Logistical coordinator for Doctors without Borders (MSF) in South Sudan

-Program manager with Marie Stopes International (family planning/reproductive health NGO) in Niger

-Volunteer with Syrian Medical Aid

-Employment counselor/case manager with Acculturation for Justice, Access and Peace Outreach (AJAPO)

-Intern with Building Dignity (NGO in poor neighborhoods of Lima, Peru)