Eastern Michigan University
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Model United Nations

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 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. The program has enjoyed outside support from the Jackson Social Welfare Fund, the United Nations Association/Huron Valley Chapter, and generous alumni.

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 over the last ten years, and 24 students participated in the 2010-11 conferences. In Chicago (November 20-23, 2010), EMU represented Chile and Kazakhstan. Students received Outstanding Delegate awards in two committees, as well as two position paper certificates.

In New York (April 19-23, 2011), where more than 5,000 students participated (half from outside the United States), EMU students represented Luxembourg and received an Honorable Mention award. Students at NMUN had the opportunity to have a private briefing with the Deputy Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN, and the concluding session of the conference was held in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations building.

EMU teams will represent Bolivia and the Philippines at the 2011 AMUN conference. Faculty advisors for 2011-2012 are Professors Richard Stahler-Sholk and Nitya Singh

 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 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.

The 2011 NMUN conference considered issues such as disarmament and landmine removal in Africa, external debt and development, protecting human rights while countering terrorism, protection of street children, pharmaceutical patents and HIV/AIDS, combating human trafficking, and strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. 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:

Participants in the Model UN program formed a chapter of the United Nations Association Student Alliance (UNSA) under the sponsorship of the Huron Valley Chapter of the United Nations Association-USA. Club members are helping local high schools prepare for a Southeast Michigan high school Model UN conference in 2011.While participating in a February 2006 Model UN conference, students learned about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. After returning to campus, they used their knowledge to participate in a symposium held in conjunction with the Huron Valley United Nations Association, "The International Response to Genocide in the 21st Century: The Crisis in Darfur." During the April 20 symposium at EMU, students composed and presented a well-researched dramatization of a 1994 Security Council session on Rwanda, but also publicized the event and designed the promotional materials. Several subsequently attended the Save Darfur rally in Washington, D.C. and became actively involved in STAND (Students Taking Action Now on Darfur), a national student organization.In September 2009, UNSA co-sponsored a major conference on campus organized by Prof. Judith Kullberg called "America Engages the World: A Public Forum on the Global Role of the United States." Hundreds of students, faculty, and community members participated in this lively dialogue, which featured Ramu Damodoran, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Information of the UN; Ambassador Thomas Miller, President of the United Nations Association of the USA; and distinguished academic specialists on foreign policy and global issues. As an outgrowth of this event, EMU formally joined the United Nations Academic Impact initiative.In 2010, EMU's United Nations Student Alliance sponsored a fundraiser for victims of the earthquake in Haiti, raising awareness of the UN's role in relief efforts.In 2011, EMU Model UN students helped sponsor an event on the conflict in South Sudan that included a talk by a Sudanese asylum-seeker and also featured a local community organization that "adopted" a refugee family.