UWO Model UN conquers New York

Christina Basken, Assistant News Editor

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The UW Oshkosh Model United Nations Team won Outstanding Delegation Awards for the 34th year in a row at the largest National MUN competition in the world held in New York from March 25 through 29.

UWO received two outstanding Delegation awards for both countries it represented, Brunei and Equatorial Guinea, making this the seventh consecutive year that UWO has won two awards for two countries.

The Oshkosh MUN team competed against 180 schools and over 6,000 students from 48 countries across six continents. Fifteen committees, each with about 40 students, decided on one topic for each group to debate on for the entire week.

According to faculty adviser Kenneth Grieb, MUN is an academic intercollegiate competition in which a group of students from different universities around the world come together to deal with issues from the real United Nations. They negotiate agreements in a process that involves speaking, writing, knowledge of the UN, knowledge of the issues and terminology.

MUN president Karee Orrick explained what the goal of MUN is.

“It seeks to teach young people to be engaged members of society through encouraging people to research, understand global politics, economics, environmental policy and social policy,” Orrick said.

Fourth-year MUN member Andria Marsh expressed the importance of the conference in New York.

“There are other national conferences, but New York is the Olympics of Model UN,” Marsh said.

Orrick said this was her fourth time competing in New York, and she always enjoys the time spent there.

“New York is an amazing experience,” Orrick said. “You get to meet, work with and learn from students from all over the world. It is always amazing to see over 6,000 college students working together and putting aside any indifferences to work towards a common goal and make the world a better place.”

Grieb said the team negotiated with large groups of people in New York.

“It’s a replication of diplomatic negotiations,” Grieb said. “It becomes a hands-on, practical experience that gives students a chance to not just theorize about or study about, but to practice the kind of interchanges that occur between countries with very different viewpoints.”

Marsh said the MUN experience has been very rewarding.

“It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of research and it’s hard,” Marsh said. “At the end of the day when you get called and you’re standing in the general assembly hall of the United Nations where real world leaders have made an impact and you get your name called in front of 6,000 people, it’s pretty rewarding.”

Marsh also explained how MUN has helped her connect with the world around her.

“Model UN has taught me how to get out of a western bias and get a world view and to be able to understand how someone in a developing country survives and lives,” Marsh said.

Orrick said MUN has helped her to prepare for life after college.

“In Model UN, you have to negotiate and communicate with fellow delegates via speeches, one-on-one negotiations and group meetings,” Orrick said. “This is essential to learn to work with others and negotiate, which can be a huge asset in any career.”

Grieb said MUN benefits the entire University.

“Because we are one of the top schools in Model UN and are known for this, this contributes to the University’s academic reputation,” Grieb said. “When you apply to graduate school, you don’t want the person who is reading your application to say ‘Haha, Oshkosh, that’s a funny name.’ You want them to say, ‘Oh, they must be very strong academically, after all they’re number-one in Model UN.”