Isaac Lawson, Katie Henry, Brodie Horton, Trey Nichols, Dr. Kevin Brennan, Addie Robertson, Emilee Webb, Payton Lee and Emma Mayes pose for a picture during the Model United Nations convention. (photo provided by Emilee Webb)

Model U.N. brings great success, gifted skill sets

March 6, 2024

By Kaelin Clay, Online Editor-in-Chief

Eight Ouachita students visited St. Louis, Mo. on Feb. 21-24 for the Midwest Model United Nations Conference (Model U.N.), engaging in role-playing and taking home several awards. Model U.N. is an organized simulation of the United Nations in which each student plays the role of a representative of a country on a specific committee of the United Nations. 

Ouachita had two delegations at the conference this year: Mozambique and Nicaragua. Katie Henry, who served on the Security Council; Trey Nichols, who served on the General Assembly Fourth Committee; Isaac Lawson, who served on the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) and Addie Robertson, who served on the World Health Organization (WHO) all represented Mozambique. Emma Mayes, who served on the General Assembly Second Committee; Brodie Horton, who served on the General Assembly Fourth Committee; Payton Lee, who served on the UNEA and Emilee Webb, who served on the WHO all represented Nicaragua. 

In their respective committees, each student addressed assigned global problems while negotiating with other delegates to write a resolution for the problem. That experience provided an understanding of the U.N. through a hands-on approach.

“The simulation in St. Louis provides an interesting learning experience that takes a hands-on approach to teach college students all about diplomacy and the United Nations,” Henry said. “Being able to act as a delegate in the General Assembly as well as the Security Council has allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of the functions of the UN as a whole.”

Dr. Kevin Brennan, instructor of the prerequisite Model U.N. course at Ouachita, attended the trip with students as a sponsor. The three-hour course leading up to that trip is designed to prepare students for the depth and rigor of the conference.

“It is not a traditional course,” Brennan said. Certainly, there is some lecture, but it is not the bulk of the class. Students have many assignments that are generally similar, but the specifics are different. Though I have them write numerous article summaries, the articles mostly pertain to their respective topics. Thus, the students are using these summaries to learn about different global problems.”

Brennan recognizes that the experience, between the class and the conference, is valuable because it provides an opportunity to build a skill set.

“Students learn skills in the areas of negotiation and public speaking,” Brennan said. “Such skills are essential in numerous jobs, and not just relevant to those who want to work in politics. Obviously, they also learn a tremendous amount of content about the topics that they discussed, debated and tried to address.”

Ouachita was well-represented at the conference, with all eight students in attendance receiving recognition individually and/or collectively. Emilee Webb was honored with “Best Position Paper” and as “Honorable Mention” for her individual work with the Nicaragua WHO. This ranked her as one of the top eight delegates out of more than 50 on her committee. Katie Henry was also honored as “Honorable Mention” for her individual work on the Mozambique Security Council. Only four of the 15 delegates on the Security Council received any kind of recognition. The General Assembly delegation of Mozambique and the General Assembly delegation of Nicaragua both received “Honorable Mention” recognition.

“These awards truly show they performed extremely well,” Brennan said.

The experience Model U.N. provides is unmatched. Henry believes it has been one of the most unique aspects of her college career.

“Participating in Model United Nations has been one of the most unique and fun parts of my college experience,” Henry said. “Ultimately, it fosters an environment where you can meet like-minded people and work together toward similar goals.”

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