Geneseo’s Model United Nations team traveled to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference XLVIII from Thursday Nov. 6 to Sunday Nov. 9 for its second conference this academic year. Model UN is a “club sport” sponsored by Student Association that helps students understand the processes of the United Nations by practicing debate skills and resolution writings. The club focuses the better half of the academic year on the conferences they attend. For the second semester, members focus on being actively involved in the Geneseo community, specifically by participating in Relay for Life.
At this conference, the club did not leave with any awards. Model UN President senior Zachary Perdek still congratulated his team for its hard work. “We’re proud that Geneseo gets to compete with these institutions,” he said.
Such competitors include teams from prestigious American and international schools such as the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania and West Point University. They compete for the first place award of Best Delegation. This year, Chicago won.
The team may not have won any awards at the UPMUNC conference, but at the previous competition held at Yale, Geneseo took home four awards. Perdek stated that this accomplishment was “great considering our team is younger and trying to develop our school’s delegation.” By attending these conferences, Perdek has been able to recognize the improvement of the club’s younger delegates.
At these conferences, the teams are placed in a simulation of a UN General Assembly, meaning that all the six chambers of the UN are presented. All of the topics discussed are relevant and serious. Students actively take part in delegations and create solutions to the problems presented.
In these conferences, every school represents a different country. At the UPMUNC conference, Geneseo represented the delegation of the Ivory Coast. The Geneseo team was given information on their country and committees three weeks in advance in order to help them prepare for the competition.
Perdek said that although they did not win any awards, the delegates left the conference “experts on the Ivory Coast.”
According to Perdek, the debates are UN-based but “they really try to mix in different subjects to keep people interested.” Perdek himself was debating the conference of Peace in Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years War and Eighty Years War in 1648.
“We represented the German free cities and talked on simulating debates that would have taken place at that conference,” Perdek said. All of the German powers and big European empires created a document that had a lasting influence on European politics.
Perdek noted that these conferences allow students to connect with students from all over the world. At the club’s next conference in Montreal, students will visit from Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan and Japan.