A bright group of individuals dedicating three quarters to the United Nations class here at Bellevue College are soon to embark on a journey taking them out of the country and putting their hard work to use. Leaving on Jan. 29 and returning on Feb. 7, a select number of students will have the opportunity to travel to France and participate in this international organization known as Model United Nations (MUN).
The conference in France will have a total of 500 delegates from schools all over the world. The eligibility of a school’s attendance depends on the school’s performance in past conferences. Bellevue College was one of the few schools invited to this exclusive event. A total of six students will be representing Bellevue College in France.
At each conference, a school is assigned a country. For example, Bellevue College will be representing Cuba. Students represent foreign diplomats and take part in this simulated United Nations assembly. In the end, all schools must tackle world issues and draft solutions based on their assigned country’s views. To come to a general consensus, collaboration is key. A paper must be written by the end, mapping out solutions to problems. Some of the global concerns may include peacekeeping, human rights, women and children, economical and social development, and the environment.
France will not be the only conference where the Bellevue College MUN team will travel. In April, New York will be the destination of this intense conference, hosting about 5,000 delegates and having 20 of our own students attending.
Unfortunately, some students were unable to register for this ten-credit class at the beginning of the school year and will not be able to travel out of state for conferences due to lack of funding. However, James Gan has developed an alternative.
Founder of the Bellevue College Model United Nations Club, Gan became extremely interested in politics following a lengthy nine hour day, five days a week, three week long political science course at a camp in the summer of 2010. He enrolled in the United Nations class this past year and created the club shortly after.
“The primary goal of the Model United Nations Club is to do our best to supply students with the resources to be exceptional delegates while representing Bellevue College,” Gan explained. Even if one is not enrolled in the United Nations course, they are still eligible to attend local conferences. “The club focuses on being a resource to students in the class, as well as raising awareness of the program and current events.”
It is astonishing how much interaction the students are involved in. They build positive relationships with other students in order to persuade them to share similar views. “We also try to see local sights at each conference, and in New York we even meet with staff of the embassy of the country we’re representing. This year, we will be Cuba in France and NY, so we will instead go to the Cuban Interests Section (part of the Swiss Embassy),” James shares.
What participants take home from this enriching organization range from the understanding of how to be a better global citizen to effectively collaborating to resolve conflict.
Any interested student who would like to become involved is encouraged to contact James Gan at firstname.lastname@example.org.