Model United Nations planning trip to Beijing

Anne Osborne

Washburn’s Model United Nations Club plans to attend next year’s world conference, March 27-31 in Beijing, China.

This is a great example as far as understanding how the real UN works,” said Shelia Burchess, president of the Model UN Club at Washburn,

Model UN allows students to become mock delegates from the nation their team represents. Other teams from all over America and the world attend conferences where they debate resolutions.

“Once they’re assigned to the country, students have to research the foreign policies of that country,” said Bob Beatty, faculty adviser for the Washburn Model UN Club. “Like anything, it takes time and commitment. “

Any student enrolled at Washburn is welcome to participate. Beatty does point out though that interested students must be willing to bond with intensive research.

“It’s a real combination of research and grasping issues,” said Beatty, “and you’ve got public speaking to do.”

At initial meetings, delegates formulate a short-list of possible countries they wish to represent. That list is then submitted along with registration applications. The nation the delegates will represent is assigned from their preferred list by administrators.

“You will go to the conference,” said Burchess, “and throughout the whole time, you’ll be on a committee and try to pass a resolution.”

Passing a resolution is accomplished through debates between roughly 1,000 delegates from 100 universities.

World Model UN’s Web site promises the most and realistic simulation of the United Nations. Adriene Metzenthin is eager to soak up all the benefits it offers.

Metzenthin has been to various countries including England, France, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but she’s hoping to get more out of this trip than just souvenirs.

“We’re going to have to go into the real world,” said Metzenthin, “and I think Model UN requires us to understand skills that should be learned now rather than when we’re just getting a job.”

Burchess agrees that the World Model UN program excels at teaching students to encounter and embrace their world.

It’s really changed my perspective and opened my way of thinking as far as issues abroad are concerned,” said Burchess. “I understand the impact that these issues have on us and why we need to be involved.”