The Model United Nations isn’t new to campus, but may be new to some students this year.
The Model UN class and club are geared toward informing students on the policies, issues and customs of different countries across the globe. Students take the year to research their given countries and act as delegates to that country at the Mid-West Model UN conference in the spring.
Over 20 students participate in the Model UN on campus, and that number will probably rise, according to one-year graduate student Erin Frownfelter, graduate assistant at the Center for Civic Leadership.
The Model UN, which was once in the Political Science department, was transferred to the Center for Civic Leadership last year and is now under the direction of Curt Brungardt, director of the CCL.
“Basically, it’s an organization and a class that helps people understand the current events of the world and you kind of get an international mindset,” Frownfelter said.
“You have to do research for a different country. You have to find out different areas of their current events. We get assigned a few different countries from the United Nations organization that we go through. Right now, Fort Hays is assigned to Morocco and Iran.”
Members of the Model UN are then assigned a committee to research topics every nation has to deal with. Those topics can vary from atomic energy to immigration issues in the country. Not only do students come prepared with extensive research, they also take on the role of a member of the country in more ways than one.
“We get together twice a week, and you work with a group the whole semester. You talk about what you have been assigned to. There will be a group of students that are assigned to Iran,” Frownfelter said.
“Basically, all semester to prepare yourself, you act like you’re from Iran. When you get to the conference in St. Louis, you have to act like a delegate from that country, like United Nations works. There are kids from all over the country who are representing a different country, and they all have to act like they are from that country.”
The fourth day, the all-expenses-paid conference challenges over 60 schools’ students to debate and discuss different aspects of their country, with students who may not disagree, but for most, the experience is rewarding.
“There’s all kinds of interaction with other people, and you have to work together to pass and create resolutions to the biggest issues that your country is creating.” Frownfelter said.
Frownfelter said the class and club’s main goal is to inform students on international relations and equip them with the knowledge to succeed in St. Louis in February, and having that knowledge is important for anyone to have.
“I think it’s important because it really teaches you to be more aware, not just here in Hays, but around the world. Not a lot of people understand that it’s important to have a global knowledge of current events, so I think it’s important for people to broaden their horizons,” Frownfelter said.
To get dates on meeting times, class times or to join the Model UN, contact Erin Frownfelter in the Center for Civic Leadership at 785-628-4312.