The ETSU Model United Nations Club familiarizes students with the roles and involvements of the United Nations. Students are given the opportunity to participate in mock simulation conferences where they assume the role of diplomats for an assigned member state.

ETSU Model United Nations Club traveled to Roanoke, Virginia, on Nov. 6 to compete in the Model Arab League conference where they were awarded best overall country in addition to several best delegate awards.

“Engagement in Model Arab League simulations help students gain invaluable diplomatic and leadership skills, including skills of negotiation, conflict management, conflict mediation, and problem solving of complex international issues,” said Dilshod Achilov, advisor to ETSU Model United Nations Club.” They learn how to think, act, and advocate as a leader of a nation.”

ETSU Model United Nations Club members who participated in the Model Arab League conference were Megan Butler, Eva Alom, Nathaniel Farnor, Napolean Rivera, Ellen Hagelberg and Melissa McElroy.The students were assigned the country of Oman, and began intensive research early this semester on the history of the country, its political system, society, economy and issues presenting challenges to its security and development.

“The Model Arab League Conference is a simulation of Arab countries, and once we were assigned the country of Oman, we had different committees that we were a part of,” said Napolean Rivera, ETSU Model UN Club member. “Within those committees we were given a topic that we had to do research for in order to be able to draft resolutions for the country we were representing.”

ETSU Model UN Club members at recent Arab League Conference

ETSU Model UN Club members at recent Arab League Conference

ETSU is the only university in Tennessee to have participated in a national conference of this sort. ETSU competed against 15 other universities at the Model Arab League Conference where the participants were judged based on the quality of the research they had done and how well any resolutions were written and presented along with their ability to delegate with other countries.

“Given the current socio-political discourse in the Arab Middle East, conflict resolution is a cornerstone of all Arab League Model debates,” Achilov said. “This process can actually be very fun and exciting as students are learning new things about a country they did not know before. Next, students develop policy positions and formulate policy prescriptions to currently pressing social, political, and geostrategic challenges in the region.”   

Not only were the ETSU Model UN Club members who participated in this conference able to walk away with an award for the overall best team to represent Oman in addition to four best delegate awards, they were also able to take away valuable leadership skills  and connections with students from all over the globe.

“The relationships you make from all over the world from attending these conferences is really incredible. I’ve made so many friends all across the globe,” said Rivera. “If I want to travel to Peru for instance I have people I could stay with, or I would know people in Germany. The best thing about ETSU Model UN is the type of international relations and connections you make across the world and across so many different universities.”

Connecting with various universities and having the opportunity to exchange ideas allows to continually work to improve events and strengthen resources.

“It’s so much more than just sitting at a conference and doing parliamentary procedure and writing resolutions; you’re getting to engage with other students and universities to see their education practices and get new perspectives and ideas for improvements we can take back to our own university,” Rivera said.