Mock United Nations has spring session

Yuko Hirose

Students enrolled in Political Science 122, “The United Nations in World Affairs” participated in an intensive spring-break session, wearing the hats of mock United Nations delegates while displaying their public speaking skills in the Western Collegiate Model United Nations (WestMUN) in Montecito, April 4-6.

The event served as a melting pot where four different schools to discuss international issues and address them in a simulation of UN activities.

Some 68 students from City College, Phoenix College in Arizona, Adams State College in Colorado, and Laguna Blanca School shared their opinions about international issues such as water pollution, human trafficking, rights for legal immigrants, assistance to humanitarian aid workers and other controversial international issues.

The committees also addressed one of the biggest challenges facing the UN – sovereignty vs. human rights. The committees debated the difficult balance between the need for the UN to intervene on behalf of human rights and countries’ right to govern themselves.

“As a country, they should have a right to enforce their own laws without having interference from international organizations,” said Angela Schardt, a City College student.

The biggest difference between the official UN and the WestMUN is the significant decrease in the amount of time spent to pass resolutions. In contrast to the several months it takes General Assembly to discuss a topic and other UN bodies taking anywhere from a day to several weeks on one issue, Model UN participants must discuss and pass their resolutions during the three days.

Also, the official UN makes a resolution draft in the Security Council and the General Assembly votes on the proposal. Contrarily, the WestMUN is designed so that each committee passes its resolutions own by a majority vote.

At the end of the WestMUN, the chair of each committee chooses the best delegate. John Stempien from General Assembly Third Committee, Adam Rothman from Security Council, Haley Stauss from the Human Rights Committee, and both Brian Norman and Sarah Freeman from United Nation Environmental Program won the best delegate award.

“I met a lot of cool people,” said Nathan Richardson from Phoenix College. “WestMUN makes me realize that even though we are not in the position of the power, we do come up with good ideas that could be put into practice in the real world.”

“I am very excited [to receive the award],” said Stempien. “As a representative of the United Kingdom, I played the role of mediator. I listened to everybody’s’ opinions and put their opinions together. That’s my personality, too. I also was a vocal person. I will participate in (WestMUN) again. I will come back as a staff next year.”