Normandale Students Participate in Model United Nations Conference

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

For a second year in a row, Normandale Community College political science instructor Elizabeth Klages arranged for Normandale students to participate in the 39th annual Arrowhead Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC) at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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). The Human Rights Council, another organ of the UN, was also simulated.

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, South Dakota State, Southwest Minnesota State, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University of Wisconsin-Superior and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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 member-states 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 countries they were assigned, and how well they demonstrated that knowledge in the General Assembly committees and on the Security Council. The four countries assigned to Normandale students were Belgium, Jordan, Iran and Ukraine.

Two Normandale students received honors during the event, as Ahmed Shukri received an honorable mention for Environmental Committee Best Delegate, and Kadra Abdi was a best delegate nominee for the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee.

"Our students did a great job with their research and preparation for the countries they were assigned, and it really showed in the quality of the work they brought forward during the event," said Klages. "This is the second year we have participated in this event, and it has been great to see what a transformational experience this event has been for our students. From the research and preparation leading up to the event, to their presentation of the material and amount they immerse themselves in all of the issues they are discussing, this has been a really gratifying experience."

Abdi and Shukri were joined by 11 other Normandale students. Those student's names are Sharmake Adbulkadir, Mohamed Ali, Khalid Barre, Lauren Doyle, Ladan Ghedi, Ellie Haggenmiller, Dale Morin, Ahmed Osman, Fernando Sanchez, Sayidai Moalim, and Robel Tesfaye.

The participation in this conference was part of a Model United Nations class taught by Klages. Lacey Mamak, from the Normandale Library, constructed the entire course guide, continued to update resources throughout the semester during preparation for this event, and held library research sessions for the students.

The Normandale Community College Foundation also played a key role in securing a grant to make sure the students were able to participate in this event.