From staff reports
Justin Summers said he will never forget what he learned about France when he represented their citizens during a mock United Nations session.
Summers and 11 other IU Kokomo students participated in the Model United Nations program as part of a class taught by Todd Bradley, political science professor. This is the first year it was offered as a class.
“I love simulations,” Summers said. “I learn better from doing, rather than reading it in a book. This was a valuable experience for me as a student and as a future teacher.”
Bradley said students were not only learning about current affairs and history of countries, but they were also learning about conflict resolution, diplomacy, writing and speaking skills and debate, as they simulated what happens at the United Nations. The simulation took place in New York City during fall semester.
Each three-student delegation represented an assigned country. Students were required to research that country and present resolutions in its interests. Members also debated solutions to international problems from the point of view of their assigned country. IU Kokomo’s students represented Somalia, India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Guatemala.
Jeremy Gilman, a junior who represented the United Kingdom, said it was interesting to consider views other than those of the United States.
“You learn to respect and understand other countries’ points of view,” he said. “It puts you in a different perspective, and you realize there are views different than ours.”
He was surprised that the U.K.’s views on Iraq are not the same as those of the United States.
Summers, a junior who represented India, learned that country believes it should be on equal footing with other international superpowers like the United States.
Senior Jensen Pickett was surprised to learn that France has been one of the major financial supporters of Syrian rebels during that country’s civil war.
Students said it was hard for the Model U.N. to accomplish much because of the many differing viewpoints, but they believe it does important work, particularly in humanitarian efforts.
Gilman said the experience showed him the importance of being willing to negotiate and change.
“It made you see compromise as a positive thing because otherwise you would never get anything done,” he said.
Other participants were Chad Barlow, Doran Brown, Ralph Corwin, Jeremy Cotton, Collin Holmes, Lucien Madding, Alejandro Mata, Robert Moore and Shannon Stockdale.
Bradley said each delegation also judges the others on how prepared they are, how much they contribute and on negotiation and collaboration skills. IU Kokomo’s delegation from India was a runner-up for the best delegation award, he said.
“I was quite proud of them,” he said. “They represented IU Kokomo well. This is an intense program, but it’s fun. They learn to be creative in brokering deals with other nations. It also makes them more aware of international issues.”