Students prepare for virtual NMUN next semester

Ansley Lesley, Staff Writer

Last week, FMU put together its team for the National Model United Nations (NMUN). This is the 11th year in a row that FMU has participated in the NMUN.

This year’s team consists of six students. All of the participants come from various majors as the team is not limited to only political science majors. Jennifer Titanski-Hooper, assistant professor of geography and the Model UN lead instructor and co-coordinator, and Dillon Tatum, assistant professor of political science and Model UN co-coordinator, will instruct the students and serve as the team’s leadership.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to interact with other students and cultures from around the world, as well as get a first hand look at what international cooperation in the UN looks like,” Titanski-Hooper said.

The NMUN is a conference where students have the chance to personally experience the inner workings of the UN. Universities from all over the world send teams to participate. Each team is assigned a country to represent at the conference. During the conference, the team will function as representatives of their country. Last year, the FMU team represented Bosnia and Herzegovina. FMU’s country for this year has yet to be assigned.

Leading up to the Model UN, each team does extensive research on their country to learn about its history, culture, political structure and geography. They also study the UN itself as an organization. Students will work collaboratively and individually to prepare themselves for NMUN. Students are taught how to discuss issues using proper debate protocol and practice giving presentations on the UN and their country. The students will also write several position papers, discussing their nation’s stance on issues, such as human rights and climate change, that are being debated at the UN.

“Writing the position paper is one of the most important parts of the course,” Titanski-Hooper said. “It prepares students to participate in debates at the conference surrounding these key issues.”

During the conference, students function as if they were the actually representing a country in the UN. They will write resolutions detailing how a nation can combat a particular issue, debate complex issues on the UN floor and deliver speeches, as well as working to form alliances with other countries.

“The Model UN experience is also a great way for students to learn some presentation and technical writing skills as speech makers and creators of position papers and resolutions,” Titanski-Hooper said. “The experience is also a great way for students to hone their professional and leadership skills.”

To simulate the UN as much as possible, the conference typically occurs at the UN in New York City. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the NMUN has moved to a hybrid platform. Some teams will meet at the UN in person, while others, such as FMU, will attend virtually.

“There will still be a lot of opportunities for students to interact and network and make the most of the conference experience,” Titanski-Hooper said.

The MNUN will begin on March 28, 2021 and end on April 1, 2021. Before the conference begins, students will prepare their position papers and practice representing their country.