It is widely known that Italy is home to innovative art and culinary expertise, this year the country also is home to the annual Harvard Model UN competition.

ETSU’s chapter of Model United Nations traveled across seas, more than 4,500 miles, to Rome to participate in the conference.

“Students also had a unique chance to see the Pope who exclusively addressed to the attendees,” said Dilshod Achilov, faculty adviser of Model UN.

Each year, Model UN participates in several national and international conferences.

“We have three conferences a year, one to Virginia for Appalachia Regional Model Arab League [ARMAL], where we’ve consistently won every year during the fall semester,” said Emily Marmon, ETSU’s vice president of conference planning. “Harvard World Model UN that took place last week and National Model UN in New York is the last week of March.”

In the fall semester, team ETSU was honored as an overall best team to represent Oman and received four best delegation awards.

Marmon said students now have the opportunity to travel to two of the largest Model UN conferences to receive a political science elective credit.

For World Model UN, conferences are held in strict parliamentary procedure.

This year, eight ETSU students participated in Rome and there will be five students for the New York conference.

“Students prepare for the conference by conducting extensive research on the country they represent,” said Marmon. “This year in ARMAL we represented Oman. In National Model UN, we will be Andorra and in World Model UN, we represented the Republic of Guinea.”

As vice president for three consecutive years, Marmon supervises any travel logistics, hotel reservations and additional conference planning.

“There are people attending from more than a hundred countries,” said Marmon. “Many of them are passionate about the power of the United Nations and diplomacy, coming together despite all of our differences to come up with viable solutions to the world’s problems whether they be legal, financial, health-related or humanitarian.”

The debates are used to inform and provide a way for cultures and borders to come together in order to promote cooperation and friendship.

For this conference, Marmon worked with ETSU student Katie Deichert in the legal committee where they debated intellectual property rights in regard to HIV and AIDS pharmaceuticals.

“As an upperclassmen, I’ve seen our organization grow tremendously,” Marmon said. “We’ve gone from participating in one conference annually to three. I’ve also seen our campus involvement increase.”

On March 29, the organization will host the documentary “Salam Neighbor” to provide education about Syrian refugee camps.
“I’d like to see us grow even more in membership and eventually host our own conference for high school students on campus,” Marmon said. “It’s an amazing experience and you can’t get that from any other organization on campus.”

Marmon said Model UN has taught her leadership and networking skills that she will utilize in the future.

“It teaches you to be able to talk to anyone and not to be afraid to speak out about what you think,” she said.