Model UN members prepare for upcoming conference

Jenna Horn

Eleven members of the Model UN program prepare for the national conference in New York City, where they will represent the country of Honduras in the mock negotiations.

The students in attendance will spend the conference coming up with solutions to suggested problems for the country.

“We ranked the countries we would want to represent when we signed up. It’s not much fun to be the United States, the country with all the power. We wanted a challenging country,” said Steve Garrison, associate professor of political science and head of the Model UN program.

“This is our third year doing the Model UN program at MSU,” Garrison said.

Garrison said this is the Model UN program’s third year at MSU, this national conference this March will be the first conference for some members.

The team went to the Midwest Model UN conference in St. Louis the last two years but this year’s national competition in New York City is a much larger conference.

“Schools from all over the country attend this conference,” Garrison said of the March 27-31 conference. “It’s split up into two sessions, and we’re going to the second one. There’s really no difference between the two sessions though.”

The first two days of the conference, students will spend time working with a committee to write proposals for their country on multiple topics.

“Within these committees, our students will have to write a paper on how their assigned country views those topics,” Garrison said. “We’re Honduras, so the first few days are committee work where the students draw up some sort of proposal for Honduras on the topic at hand.”

At the end of the conference, there will be a general assembly where all of the proposals are discussed, requiring, students said, a lot of preparation and research.

“We meet once a week to discuss our country, possible topics, and what we have to individually research for the conference,” Danielle Goettle, political science junior and Model UN member, said.

The students have spent the past couple of months researching Honduras.

“The first thing is to know and learn about our country. We have to research the culture, the history, and their current political system. We think of how we would solve issues like infrastructural problems, education issues, and healthcare,” Garrison said.

Research isn’t the only thing that goes into preparing for the conference.

“We also have to work on public speaking. When you’re called on at the conference to defend your proposal you’re given about 60-90 seconds at most to talk about it. Students have to be prepared and be persuasive as well, so we do a little bit of public speaking training,” Garrison said.

Goettle said, “I like the political experience I’m getting out of these conferences. I’m also really excited to go to New York for the first time.”