Friday, April 12, 2024

Model UN educates high-schoolers about world viewpoints

April 6, 2001

Some of the world’s biggest problems are about to be placed in the hands of high-schoolers.

More than 80 students from across the state will participate in MSU’s first Model United Nations conference at the Kellogg Center this weekend.

The conference, sponsored by the International Relations Organization, gets under way at 7 p.m. today and lasts through Sunday.

International relations junior Scott Risner, an organizer of the conference, said students get the opportunity to discuss current international events by simulating United Nations activities.

“They will talk about some of the most important and most pressing issues that are facing the world today,” he said. “It’s a way to bring together different viewpoints.”

The students will be playing the roles of delegates from various countries, which Risner said might prove to be difficult for many of them.

“A lot of these delegates will have to talk and support a viewpoint that they might not have been raised to believe in,” he said.

The person representing China, for example, may have to speak against educating women, he explained.

“It gives them a better understanding of the fact that, yes, things on the domestic level are important but at the same time the international world is so important too,” he said.

International relations and social relations sophomore Chris Harkins said the conference offers chances at leadership too.

“You take kids and you force them into roles of chiefs of state,” he said. “There really aren’t too many other opportunities to use what you know about the world and what you know about life in general and put it forth in this manner.”

The conference also serves as an excuse to show off MSU, Harkins said.

“We can showcase everything MSU has to offer,” he said. “But that will always come second to the actual function of the conference.”

Political theory and constitutional democracy junior Rob Rodemeyer said the event has real-life implications.

“It’s possible that these students will come up with solutions to global problems that have never been thought of before,” he said. “I hope that they see what they’re doing here matters.”

Rodemeyer said he’s anticipating good things from the conference.

“I just hope to have a fun weekend,” he said. “The payoff will be to see the students having a good time, see the staff having a good time and see the bond between the college students and the high school students.”

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