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Home > Model U.N. Prepares Students for Real-World Diplomacy

Model U.N. Prepares Students for Real-World Diplomacy

April 28th, 2010

By Erin Pradia; originally published in the PHC Herald, 4/16/10.

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

2010 NMUN participants from Patrick Henry College. From L to R, Philip Greendyk, Joseph Gallop, Claire Spear, Alyssa Farah, David Personius, Mackenzi Siebert, Jonathan Roose, James Nelson, Natasha Malik, Russell York, Adam Fisher, Bethany Vehlow, Timothy Hrushka, Michelle Wright, Ryan Gilles, Noah Oberlander

At the annual Model United Nations Conference at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square in New York City in early April, Patrick Henry College received one of 30 Honorable Mention Delegation Awards. The closing ceremonies were held at the United Nations building in New York.

In recent years, the College has earned high honors at the conference, including winning the Outstanding Delegation Award in 2009, which is the highest award given at the United Nations simulation conference. Last year, the College was one of only 14 schools to be so recognized in a conference that included the London School of Economics, Catholic University of America, University of Cairo, University of Munich, California State Polytechnic University, Pepperdine University and Baylor University.

PHC senior Jonathan Roose (left on screen) serves as committee chairman

Senior Phil Greendyk says the PHC delegation was nonetheless satisfied with this year’s showing, especially in light of the fact that, while many previous PHC students served as Model UN delegates, this year’s contingent included 12 first-time participants out of 18 members.

“Additionally, this year we had four students in leadership positions within the conference, either chairing or rapporteuring for a committee, which is excellent,” Greendyk said. “You could argue that we took a bit of a different strategy this year, by being more influential in the administration of the conference.”

Seniors Jon Roose and Phil Greendyk and sophomore Natasha Malik served as the three head delegates for the PHC team. Roose and Malik received two of 20 chairman positions at the conference through a competitive interview process. Greendyk and senior Joseph Gallop received two of 50 rapporteur positions.

As Greendyk explains, the chairmen facilitate the simulation sessions under the directors of their committees. Rapporteurs edit resolutions and papers that a committee produces. Delegates must know how to tactfully implant their ideas into the minds of the other countries’ delegates. Since the Model UN prepares students for “real world” scenarios where their diplomatic skills are put to use, in these coveted leadership positions, Greendyk continues, delicate diplomacy is key.

Philip Greendyk and Natasha Malik, two of PHC's head delegates

Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the UN that gives students first-hand experience in multilateral diplomacy. It brings together students from a variety of different countries, backgrounds, and political views to discuss solutions to global issues such a nuclear proliferation and human trafficking. At the conference, students from across the globe represent delegations from different countries and serve in UN committees, such as the Security Council, the World Trade Organization, and the General Assembly. Acting as foreign diplomats, students are expected to remain in character, referring to each other only by country name. The contest helps students to better understand the purpose and methods of the UN -- which students from more conservative schools typically view with deep skepticism -- and to see global affairs from an international perspective. Such a perspective, says PHC Chancellor Dr. Michael Farris, is crucial to leaders in this day and age.

PHC's delegation hailed from "Luxembourg." By the table sign, Claire Spear and Timothy Hrushka

“Model UN stresses negotiation and diplomacy as opposed to debate and argumentation,” Greendyk said. “Delegates must have cogent arguments and a strong position on each issue, but argumentation doesn’t get very far in international relations.”

In addition to honing diplomacy skills, students learn to articulate conservative viewpoints in a diverse setting. “Working on committees with more than 200 individuals that come from various backgrounds and hold different worldviews is a challenge,” said Natasha Malik.

While the team views this year’s showing as successful, they seem to agree that there is plenty of room to grow.

“I think Model UN has barely scratched the surface of its educational potential,” added Roose.

The MUN team is grateful for the support they received to make this year’s conference possible.

”Our Model UN team raises its own money while teaching the new-comers all on our own. There is no way we would have gone on this trip without the generous donations of those who support the Model UN program,” Roose said. “The team is deeply indebted to them, and I speak for the whole team when I extend the most sincere ‘Thank You’ to them.”

Greendyk encourages students interested in furthering this opportunity to carry the torch in future generations, keeping the program strong.

“I’d like to thank all those who have helped in these roles in the past and kept the program alive,” Greendyk said.