On Nov. 18 to 20, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Global Affairs Club participated in the Santa Barbara Intercollegiate Model United Nations Conference (SBIMUN).
Model United Nations (MUN) is an international program in which participants take on the role of a country to try and solve real-world issues in various topics.
This was the first time that ERAU had participated in MUN in any capacity. MUN requires participants to practice diplomacy, negotiation, public speaking, writing, and to view issues through different lenses.
SBIMUN was hosted by the University of California Santa Barbara, and delegates from a total of 15 universities attended. Delegates were split into several different committees each focused on different issues.
The General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) focused on the role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in conflict zones and worldwide nuclear disarmament.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) committee focused on solving the issues of aviation security and the premise of mandating international transponders on all aircraft.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) committee focused on solving the growing issues of climate refugees and the sustainable development of the Arctic.
DISEC, ICAO, and UNEP were all “traditional” committees, in which a very structured format was held, and delegates sought to write and pass resolutions to address issues they face.
“Crisis” committees are different from a “traditional” committee in that these sessions are much less structured, delegates can take direct actions by passing smaller directives, and new events are brought up periodically to challenge delegates.
The mock United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was a crisis committee focused on the emerging crisis in the South China Sea.
The Joint Regional Crisis Committees (JRCC) of the European Union (EU) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were separate committees working simultaneously to solve the same issues of the global refugee crisis and growing global Islamophobia.
The final crisis committee was a “historical” committee, where delegates represented specific people working in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Throughout all these committees, ERAU delegates represented the countries of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Venezuela, and the Czech Republic.
This was the first MUN experience for most of the students who attended the conference from ERAU. “It was a good way to meet others that [sic] are also passionate about solving international issues with practical solutions,” said Shannon McGirk, who represented Venezuela in the UNEP.
“I enjoyed the debates and cannot wait for the next one.” Mark Rego, who represented Saudi Arabia in the ICAO, added, “Model UN is great for developing public speaking skills, applying argumentation and rhetorical strategies, and a great way to make like-minded friends from across the country.”
The Global Affairs Club, which was formed just last semester, looks forward to competing in more MUN conferences in the future.
They will likely travel to California again next semester to compete in a conference hosted by UCLA, as well as possibly other conferences hosted by other universities in Arizona. Another goal of the club is to compete in a national Model NATO conference in Washington D.C. soon.