Model U.N. goes to national conference

Anne Aaker

Ten Lawrentians attended the Nation Model United Nations conference in New York. This is the first time Lawrence’s chapter of the Model U.N. went to this conference. (Abed Khatib)

World peace wouldn’t be an option if it weren’t for the United Nations. “The United Nations is more of a peace organization than anything,” says Emily Dalton, one of the members of Lawrence University’s Model United Nations.
Every year, the National Model United Nations conference is held in New York City at the United Nations Headquarters. It is one of the largest and most prestigious collegiate Model U.N. programs in the world. This year, the LU Model U.N. was able to make it to the conference, at which more than 3,500 students were in attendance. Students from overseas also took part, hailing from Japan, the Middle East and India, to name a few.
“It was very professional in terms of the actual U.N. process,” said Dalton, who is a first-year participant in Model U.N. “The number of international students was amazing – it was really cool to get their side of the story and learn about their culture.”
LU’s Model United Nations co-president Abdalwahab Khatib explains that the organization is similar to mock trial. The group meets every week and practices simulating real United Nations meetings. The goal is to represent countries as realistically as possible.
Lawrence’s Model U.N. represented Liberia at the NMUN conference, spending nearly six months studying and preparing. Each day of the conference, Khatib said, there were sessions lasting from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., in which an agenda was decided upon and these issues were discussed for the rest of the day.
There were also informal sessions, called caucuses. During a caucus, representatives who had similar interests regarding their countries would get together and talk about issues such as education and governance. “You have to put yourself in your country’s position and ask, ‘What would Liberia do?’ The more success you have at that, the more success your group will have as a whole,” said Khatib.
The conference helped the members of the Model U.N. here at Lawrence to develop a more realistic view of what the United Nations faces. Khatib mentioned that the number of difficulties faced by the U.N. is much greater than one might think. “There is great complexity in trying to balance the needs and wants of the country in order to work toward a consensus,” Khatib said. “Everyone has their own agenda.”
The experience opened the group’s eyes to a lot of what the U.N. actually does when in session. “You don’t really hear much about the United Nations except for things that have to do with the war in Iraq – especially these days,” Dalton said. But the real purpose of the U.N., it seems, is to attempt to organize each country’s needs and wants in such a way that some form of unity can be achieved.
“For me, getting a view of the U.N. from the bureaucratic side was interesting,” said Khatib. “Being from a developing country, it helps to get an insider’s view, since someday I will have to deal with that.

Ten Lawrentians attended the Nation Model United Nations conference in New York. This is the first time Lawrence’s chapter of the Model U.N. went to this conference. (Abed Khatib)

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