A group of students from UBC’s Okanagan campus has just returned from the Harvard National Model United Nations conference in Boston, Mass. Model United Nations is an international, academic simulation of the United Nations, notes UBC Okanagan student Tim Krupa, who founded the club in September 2011. Krupa, a fourth year science student, was the head delegate for the Harvard conference.
Model UN is the ultimate international relations experience for young political scholars, he adds. At each conference, student groups represent UN member states and discuss global policy to address hot-button issues currently being discussed at the United Nations.
“The goal is to educate participants about current events and diplomacy, unite like-minded students from around the world, debate practical policies, and form tangible resolutions to ameliorate our world’s greatest challenges,” he explains.
And the idea of being involved with international diplomacy is catching on at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Last year, eight UBC Okanagan students participated in the first ever World Model UN to be held in North America. At that event, more than 2,000 students from 270 universities participated — the Okanagan contingent represented Antigua and Barbuda, a twin-island Caribbean nation. This year UBC’s Okanagan campus has delegations participating in three different Model UN conferences in Vancouver, Boston, and New York. In total, 29 students from the Model United Nations Club at UBC’s Okanagan campus will participate in Model United Nations conferences this year.
The first took place in Vancouver in January where 11 UBC Okanagan students represented India, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Krupa was the UBC Okanagan head delegate at the second conference in Boston, which took place February 14 to 17. There were more than 3,000 other students from around the world at that event and they participated in committees representing some 40 different countries.
“Our 10-member delegation represented the Republic of Cape Verde, a small African island nation,” says Krupa. “We actively debated and drafted working papers and resolutions on topics ranging from targeted killings and enforced detainment, sexual violence in areas of armed conflict, and pre-emptive war. It was thrilling to compete against and cooperate with some of the best Model UN teams in the world from the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. ”
The University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus represented Uzbekistan at the Harvard conference.
“Model UN forums around the world train the brightest diplomatic students from our generation who will someday be tasked with forming multilateral strategies to address these issues on the actual stage,” says Krupa. “We are leaders who plan to someday serve this community, province, and country.”
The final Model UN conference this academic year takes place in New York City next month where Oliver Eberle, third-year Arts, International Relations student will be head delegate. At the March event, eight UBC Okanagan students will represent the Federal Republic of Somalia. The conference will be held at the official United Nations Headquarters and Eberle is thrilled to be attending.
“We couldn’t be any more excited for the authentic United Nations experience in the real UN Headquarters,” he says. “United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is the keynote speaker.”
The UBCO Model UN Club is actively campaigning to raise awareness of the UN’s current focus in conflicted regions such as Mali and Syria, as well as raise funds and attract sponsors to cover travel expenses. Learn more at UBCO Model UN Club or contact email@example.com.
Above: UBC’s Okanagan delegation to the Harvard National Model United Nations 2013. Photo by Sara Wahedi.