Under the Knife: Model UN members strengthen debate skills through competition

This year, Geneseo Model UN received positive reviews from bestdelegate.com, which called Geneseo’s team a “dark horse in this league; it’s been holding its own against top teams at smaller conferences, and a similar performance at a larger conference like [McGill Model United Nations] can really help put them on the map.” According to the site’s ranking, Geneseo placed fifth in the “Big East” league.

“The fun thing about [Model UN] is getting to hang out with different people and attending the conferences,” said senior Andrew Perry, vice president of the organization.

Each semester, Model UN attends two three-day-long conferences in different cities. Thursday Oct. 25, 16 members of the organization head to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. for the National Collegiate Security Conference.

Model UN recently attended the Security Council Simulation at Yale University conference from Oct. 4-7. Conference award winners included junior Matt Huben for best delegate, senior Jess Gilbert for outstanding delegate and sophomore Jeff Denney for honorable mention.

Geneseo Model United Nations gives students the opportunity to learn about world issues and teamwork while allowing them to travel to cities like Montreal, Quebec and Washington, D.C.

Members are split up into separate committees, each debating different issues. Perry saida his debate for the upcoming conference will focus on the European sovereign-debt crisis.

Delegates are each given a position in a committee and can represent either a person or a nation. These committees can range from actual committees such as the U.N. Security Council to fictional committees such as Lord of the Rings.

Once delegates are assigned to committees, their jobs are to learn the positions on various issues of the people or countries they’re representing and petition for their wants or needs in the committee.

These roles are assigned two to three weeks in advance. This gives the delegates a chance to learn about where their assigned countries or people stand on the issues they will debate.

“You have to work with different sorts of people,” Perry said.

“Model UN isn’t just for political science and international relations majors; it’s for anyone interested in bettering their public speaking skills or having a blast and getting to know people from all over the world,” said junior Christina Kennedy, treasurer of Model UN, in her admissions blog post about the organization.

Any students interested in debating on international or political issues, meeting new people or traveling to new cities can check out Model UN meetings at 7 p.m. on Thursdays in Welles 24.