Normandale Students Participate in Model United Nations

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Normandale Community College political science instructor Elizabeth Klages arranged for 19 Normandale students to participate in the 38th annual Arrowhead Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC) at University of Wisconsin-River Falls on April 3-6.

This event was a gathering of regional colleges and universities from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin to take part in a simulation of a United Nations General Assembly (they also simulated the Security Council, which is not part of the General Assembly, but a separate structure within the UN).

Normandale, which was the only two-year college to participate in this event, was joined by Lake Superior State University, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, North Dakota State, St. Cloud State, St. Olaf, St. Thomas, South Dakota State, Southwest Minnesota State, University of Minnesota-Morris, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University of Wisconsin-Superior and Winona State University at the conference.

Each institution was assigned a group of countries that it had to role play and a committee that each individual served on as part of the simulation of the United Nationals General Assembly and Security Council.

The groups had to research the backgrounds, views and traditions of the nations they were assigned, and adhere to those identities while presenting ideas and proposals for committees and constructing resolutions that included politics and security, economics and finance, environmental concerns, social and cultural and humanitarian issues.  

They were judged by the research, preparation and presentation they did on the nations they were assigned, and how well they demonstrated that knowledge in the General Assembly committees and on the Security Council. The four nations assigned to Normandale students were Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Venezuela.

Three Normandale students received honors during the event, as Katherine Matthews was named Best Delegate for the Human Rights Council, Alexander Bahr was a Best Delegate Nominee for the Environment Committee and Taylor Wicklund was named an Honorable Mention Best Delegate for the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee.

"The students did an amazing job at the Model UN Conference," said Klages. "I thought it was a great opportunity to develop leadership skills and self-confidence, and the preparation everyone put in really paid off. Our group represented Normandale extremely well, and we hope to continue to take our students to this event and other Model UN conferences like them in the future."

Bahr, Matthews and Wicklund were joined by 16 other Normandale students. Those students names are Joshua Evans, Deborah Honore, Jennifer Kim, John McGill, Binyam Mehari, Rose Monhaut, Sayidali Moalim, Justin Morris, Brett MulQueeny, Evan Murnan, Nidhi Nagalia, Nahveed Nezhad, Juan Perez-Isiordia, Tenzing Sangmo, Shawn Stefanick and Abdirahim Warsame. Armstrong Kum and Jason Lin are also students in the class, but could not participate in the conference.

The participation in this conference was part of a Model United Nations class taught by Klages. Library faculty member Lacey Mamak constructed the entire course guide, and continued to update resources throughout the semester during preparation for this event. This included eight class periods of instruction focusing primarily on UN document research skills and strategies.

The students raised money through bake sales and personal contributions to participate in the conference. Dean of Business, Social Sciences and Library Michael Kirch assisted with the funds, as did US Bank. Student LEAD funds for student membership in the Politics and Law Club also went towards funding participation.