Fifteen SUNY Oneonta students enrolled in Political Science 280 participated in the 2018 National Model United Nations Conference in New York City from March 18 to 22. The Oneonta delegation represented the country of Malaysia and earned an Honorable Mention award for remaining in character, participating in committee and properly using the rules of procedure.
During the conference, students confronted a range of topics from the perspective of their assigned country. As they proposed solutions to global concerns and discussed current world issues, they gained a better understanding of the inner workings of the UN and honed their skills in debate, conflict resolution and compromise.
“They meet and work with students from all parts of the world and from a variety of institutional types to understand the issues facing the world and to craft student-driven solutions,” said Political Science Professor Robert Compton, who advises the group and accompanied them to New York City. “In that process, our students learned about the importance of international cooperation but also the strengths and limits of the United Nations. Few experiences provide this type of praxis where theory meets action.”
Model UN is designed to prepare its 2,500 student participants to be better global citizens and the next generation of international leaders. During committee sessions and hallway caucuses, students develop an appreciation of differing viewpoints, experience the challenges of negotiation, witness the rewards of cooperation, broaden their world view, and discover the human side of international relations and diplomacy.
“It was so amazing being able to witness people from all around the world work together to establish resolutions that ensure the betterment of our world,” said Political Science major Connor Larrison, Class of 2019. “It provided me with a sense of confidence in our future leaders that one day soon we will be the ones drafting and implementing real policies that will increase the sustainable development throughout all nations in our international community.”
SUNY Oneonta students prepared for the simulation by learning about Malaysia’s international and domestic politics, contemporary issues, and the United Nations’ committee system and operating procedures. The Model UN experience provided students with “an unparalleled experience in global policy and diplomacy,” Compton said.
“Our students met many people from the U.S. and abroad with whom they became lifetime friends,” he said.