Oct. 23 through 25, ten students from Montevallo were able to attend the Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference where they represented the country Japan.
During the closing ceremony of the conference, Montevallo’s team won an award for best position papers, along with sophomore political science and sociology major Xander Swain who won the Best Delegate Award for the Peace Building Committee.
Usually, the Model UN Conference is held in Atlanta, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the conference was held over Zoom.
Dr. Scott Turner, advisor for Model UN said, “Doing Model UN via Zoom was definitely a different experience.”
During Model UN, student delegates prepared position papers on their assigned topic where they would discuss it in committees. Due to it being online, Turner explained that delegates would only spend about half the time in committee as they usually do.
To prepare for the conference, Turner used the semester to allow students to practice public speaking, review rules and procedures and the writing and research of position papers. Turner also spent the semester presenting a PowerPoint on the United Nations explaining the structure and history.
Students who take the Model UN class taught by Turner can take the class twice for a credit. Students are able to take it again after that but do not receive additional credits.
Montevallo’s team represented Japan at the Model UN Conference so throughout the semester, they spent time researching and preparing papers that lined up with Japan’s ideologies and government.
With students representing a multitude of countries, committees were formed to speak on their agenda topics. The committees were also broken down into smaller groups where the delegates discuss and debate proposals for what action they would like the UN to take.
Turner also explained that Model UN Conference is a great way for students from universities around the United States to interact with each other. Turner explained that it allows students to prepare for future jobs by dressing and acting professionally.
Teams for Model UN also choose a head delegate. This year’s head delegate for Montevallo was a returning student from last year, Claudia Bonney, political science and foreign language junior.
Bonney explained that her duties as head delegate involved sharing concerns fellow delegates had to the SRMUN Staff, as well as meeting at the end of the conference with other head delegates to discuss what improvements could be made.
“Typically, head delegates get to move from committee to committee to monitor other delegates’ participation, however I also doubled as a single delegate on the General Assembly Committee so I didn’t get a chance to do so,” said Bonney.
The SRMUN Conference was held a month earlier than usual because of some universities’ plans of going remote or finishing the semester after Thanksgiving break. Since the conference was virtual, it allowed more universities from a wide range of schools to participate.
With COVID-19’s effect on the SRMUN Conference, Turner said, “Needless to say, when it’s done in person there is a sense of excitement and energy that I don’t think Zoom can replicate. Nevertheless, our students said they enjoyed it.”
Bonney also explained her experiences during the online conference, saying, “I am incredibly proud of my fellow delegates and enjoyed working with them. Hopefully we can participate in an in-person conference in the future.”