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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UN club tackles world issues

    Yunyan Guo, a pre-business freshman, listens to feedback after giving a presentation on the Economic and Social Council during the Model United Nations club meeting in the Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building Tuesday evening.
    Yunyan Guo, a pre-business freshman, listens to feedback after giving a presentation on the Economic and Social Council during the Model United Nations club meeting in the Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building Tuesday evening.

    A group of eager students gather in a small classroom to discuss the day’s hot topics, but they aren’t discussing “”Gossip Girl,”” Tiger Woods or even the latest Miley Cyrus scandal. No, these students are fired up about issues like the war in Iraq and North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

    Arizona Model United Nations is one of the UA’s oldest clubs. Following the same structure as the United Nations, AZMUN meets twice a week to debate foreign and domestic issues.

    “”It’s a really good way to get involved with something that affects the entire country and that has a big effect on the entire world,”” political science freshman Vanessa Dojaquez said. “”It does prepare you (for) later on in life.””

    Meetings usually consist of formal debates regarding issues the group decides on.

    “”We all get to pick different nations, so I could be Israel one week and USA another week,”” said political science senior Chris Chelekis. “”Depending on the topic area, you get to see a lot of good points of view.””

    “”It’s an educated debate; you can’t just ramble on about anything,”” said international affairs freshman Joni Northam.

    AZMUN Secretary General Morgan Sim said the club also participates in the American Model United Nations conference in Chicago during the fall semester.

    About 45 students compete as delegates from different countries. Each school gets assigned one or even several countries depending on the size of their delegation, she said.

    “”This year we represented Russia, as well as Sri Lanka and Haiti,”” Sim said.

    A smaller group attends the spring semester conference, which changes location every year, she said.

    “”It’s a really hands-on club where you get to see how things work rather than just reading about it,”” Northam said.

    The club also helps pave the way for a career in politics or foreign relations, Dojaquez said.

    “”If you want to work for the U.N, this is a really good introduction,”” she said.

    During the fall semester, AZMUN is organized and run as a club and meets only once a week. In the spring, however, it meets twice a week and can count for class credit in certain political science classes.

    Sim said the spring semester may be structured more like a class, but no one person has any sort of authority over anyone else.

    “”It’s more of a community than a classroom, but there still is a lot of teaching that has to happen,”” said Sim.

    Interested students do not need a vast knowledge of foreign affairs, Sim said. An interest in the club is enough.

    “”We have a lot of people who don’t think their career will ever have anything to do with international affairs but are just interested in international affairs, like the CNN junkies,”” Sim said.

    Because the spring semester has already started, interested students must wait until fall 2009 to join.

    “”We’re training for our main event, which is to host several hundred high school students in a model U.N. conference so you really have to commit at the beginning of the semester to get all the training,”” said Sim, “”Of course they’d be welcome to come sit in, but it would be a different experience.””

    Although AZMUN looks good on resumes for graduate programs, Sim added it’s much more than that.

    “”We are serious about what we do, but we don’t take ourselves seriously,”” Sim said, “”We have parties, we go camping … it’s just a lot of fun and it’s a lot of fun people.””

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