Model UN Club off to Boston

They may be from Lethbridge, Calgary, Milk River or Okotoks, Alberta, but for the next week, 20 University of Lethbridge students will have to believe they are from Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony on the south-east coast of Africa - or the Marshall Islands, a tiny republic located near the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Though the locations couldn't be more different, the team's goal is the same: to represent each country to the best of their ability at the 2010 Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) conference (Feb. 11-14) in Boston, Mass.

The U of L's Model UN Club heads to Boston to take part in the 2010 Harvard National Model United Nations conference.

This University of Lethbridge Model United Nations Club has been sending delegates to national or international conferences since 2003. This year, they will join hundreds of other delegates to represent more than 35 countries to debate, negotiate and compromise on a number of international issues. The HNMUN is one of the largest, oldest and most prestigious conferences in the world.

"This Model United Nations conference offers an arena for our students to develop and hone their public speaking abilities, interpersonal skills and knowledge of international relations," said club spokesperson and president Brittany Kocken.

"Participating in this conference has long-term benefits for students, as the skills and knowledge they learn can be brought back to campus and applied to their own studies and workplaces. The benefits we gain can provide our club members with an edge when they apply to graduate and professional programs."

Kocken said that there is no better way to learn than being a part of the actual process. "Teams are assigned committees which simulate committees operating at the actual United Nations, and are required to research and write position papers regarding the issues in their specified committees."

"The topics are as diverse as "Ending World Hunger" and "International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, for example," Kocken said. "In the past, our delegates have come away from the experience with a deeper understanding of the international system, plus some great new friendships. Moreover, in past conferences, some of our delegates have even won awards for their outstanding committee performances."