Club Spotlight: Model United Nations


Courtesy of Drbashir117

Model United Nations delegates at a General Assembly in Germany.

Kartik Chowtkur

If you are looking for a place to learn about current issues regarding global politics, look no further. The Model United Nations (Model UN) club is a club where students research and debate foreign and domestic policy issues. According to United Nations Association of the USA, the very first Model UN programs started in American universities and other academic institutions about sixty years ago.
Just recently, a Model UN Club was formed at Wilcox and has been growing in popularity. The purpose of the club is to “bring the professionalism of the club into the Wilcox campus and to give students the ability to debate in a setting similar to that of the United Nations,” says Mr. Bennett, one of the club’s advisors.
Model UN is an extracurricular program for middle school, high school, and college students. “Model United Nations is a great way to combine history, economics, political science, debate, and communication skills all at once,” adds Mr. Bennett. Students in Model UN also exercise qualities such as critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Ammanudin “Aman” Syed, one of the Wilcox Model UN club’s co-founders, states that “politics are a major part of American life and as an American citizen, it is important to me that I am well-informed on political issues, which can often be polarizing. Model United Nations is a club where students can learn and discuss these issues regarding global politics in a safe and controlled environment.
The National Model United Nations (NMUN) is a very historic organization. According to the NMUN, Model UN has origins that date as far back as the 1920s and has since thrived as an organization. Model UN activities initially started as student-run simulations of the League of Nations in 1927 and was called “Model Assembly of the League of Nations.” These initial conferences were held at Syracuse University and Cornell University and were very successful.
At the end of World War II, with the formation of the United Nations, the Model League of Nations became the Model United Nations we know today. In 1968, Model UN was officially recognized as a club by the National Collegiate Conference Association and in 1982, it was formally recognized as a registered non-government organization by the United Nations Department of Public Information.
The Model United Nations program at Wilcox meets every Monday at lunch in room R103. During meetings, club members split into groups that represent different UN countries or American states. Once separated into regions, club members research for two weeks and then have a debate on the third week. Mr. Bennett states that the reason behind this structure is to allow the debaters “to practice researching and are well informed of the side they take.” The goal of the Model UN Club at Wilcox is to “enrich our students and give them an opportunity to learn about different views on global issues,” states Mr. Bennett. The club plans to participate at the UC Berkeley Model United Nations Conference in October 2019. The topic of this conference has not yet been released to the public. In a typical Model UN Conference, delegates choose countries to represent certain global issues, and from there, the delegates research their country’s stance on that issue, and debate until negotiations are made in the form of a resolution. According to The Best Delegate, an education company that supports Model UN programs, the goal of Model UN conferences is to create and pass a resolution, a document that outlines problems the countries want to solve and possible solutions to them. NMUN conferences take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Washington D.C., and many international locations including Germany, Japan, and the Czech Republic. The NMUN states that “conferences [which] take place at the United Nations headquarters give students a hands-on experience of the very institution they are simulating.”
“Model United Nations has been a very rewarding experience as I get an opportunity to discuss important issues,” says Syed. Students interested in the club can sign up by getting in touch with Mr. Bennett in room R103 or one of the other club advisors whose contact information can be found on the Wilcox website.