SBCC students to participate in simulation of United Nations

BROOKE SNOW, Channels Staff

Students from all over California will gather at the Western Collegiate Model United Nations this coming week to participate in a simulation of the United Nations.

In this simulation, they will take on the pressure of representing active countries and solving global issues.

“It’s definitely a good experience,” said Jessica Arzate, City College student who participated in last year’s Model U.N. “It gives you a whole new perspective. I see it as an opportunity to engage in research and to gain the perspective of a different country,” she said.

The event will take place Thursday, April 13, through Sunday, April 16, at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Carpinteria.

Students prepare for months in advance to learn and understand their assigned countries. They study the country’s history, politics, economy, society and cultural phenomenon so they are well-prepared to apply their knowledge to whatever issues they may have to resolve in the simulation.

Arzate said that she is very excited about discussing non-state actors, including the Islamic State Group, commonly known as ISIS, and how issues regarding that will be resolved. She also said she thinks current events like the recent airstrike in Syria will dominate the conversation at this year’s simulation.

“Being able to see things from another point of view… that’s a value that comes with this,” said Peter Haslund, a member of the Board of Trustees and one of the primary organizers for the event. “They learn a lot about themselves if they do it right, they become better global citizens.”

At this year’s Model U.N., there will be about 90 total participants, including 13 students from City College.

David Morris, the treasurer of the Western Model U.N. and a history of the Middle East professor at City College, expressed how this kind of event helps students not only find interests they may want to pursue, but it’s also a great way to meet people who share similar interests, gain new skills, and global awareness.

“You don’t need to be an expert ‘Model U.N.er’ to enjoy the conference and do well,” Morris said. “We’re very good at supporting the delegates, helping them work out issues that come up. Our conference really supports new ‘Model U.N.ers’ very well.”

Participators at this year’s event can expect there to be some prominent speakers, including Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University.

Similar to previous events, they are also expecting to have live entertainment throughout the weekend.

Those who aren’t participating in the simulation are more than welcome to attend and witness the eminent speakers who will be presenting, and their peers who will be making speeches, negotiations, and resolutions about current global crises.