North Texas Daily

UNT Model UN to compete at Harvard conference

UNT Model UN to compete at Harvard conference

January 20
21:28 2015

Adalberto Toledo / Staff Writer

UNT’s Model International Organization will head to Boston this February to compete in the 61st annual Harvard National Model United Nations Conference.

The 12 member team will represent the small African country of Equatorial Guinea Feb. 12-15 at the conference in downtown Boston. Members will serve on seven committees with agendas ranging from disarmament and international security to Internet privacy and construction in Israeli-occupied territories.

“We’re trying to build the reputation that other MUN-type organizations have in other universities,” psychology senior and MIO conference coordinator Haluk Öz said. “We see going to HNMUN as a step in the right direction to eventually becoming the best collegiate Model United Nations organization in the state.”

UNT students will be participating in the Disarmament and International Security Committee; Special Political and Decolonization Committee; Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee; World Health Organization; and Special Summit on Technology, with topics ranging from biofortification to journalistic freedoms.

“We want to provide our members with the opportunity to discuss world problems while also providing them with a means of heightening their global awareness, public speaking skills and resolution writing,” international studies junior and MIO Vice President Joe Brodeur said.

This semester, MIO weekly meetings are on Thursdays in Environmental Science Building room 190 from 6-7:30 p.m.

On Saturdays, MIO members take part in mock conferences in which they are each given the charge of representing a specific country in debates. While the majority of the topics are serious issues, sometimes students debate more trivial subjects like whether cookies or ice cream are better.

“The good thing about this organization is how diverse it is,” Öz said. “We have members from different ethnic backgrounds, religions and majors. Also, not everyone is an international studies major. There are students with majors in biology, engineering, journalism and more.”

Harvard’s history with Model UN goes back to 1953 when it held its first annual conference, which led to the creation of other Model UN clubs in universities and high schools across the country.

“Each MUN conference has something to offer and you can learn and grow as a delegate through these experiences,” political science freshman Zehra Hussain said. “I’ve attended various international MUN conferences, but for some reason I have a feeling that HNMUN will be unique in its own way.”

UNT’s organization was not founded until 1997, and has historically been a small group of devoted individuals with international inclinations.

“Funding from the university didn’t come until the early 2000’s,” Brodeur said. “It was only funded after the team began to participate in national conferences and host high school conferences. We’ve bounced back in the past two years to becoming what the organization was back then.”

Previous MIO teams have gone to Washington D.C. and Los Angeles to participate in national Model UN conferences as well as Arab League conferences.

“What I enjoy about Arab League is that it allows our members to truly understand some of the things that affect that region specifically,” Öz said. “In terms of how regional and global situations affect the Arab nations, a place that has clearly seen turmoil in the recent past.”

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