Model United Nations at UCR Hosts High School Conference

By Robert Bastone, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

On February 6-8, 2004, the Model United Nations (MUN) at UCR hosted its 37th annual high school conference. The conference was held on campus and was attended by over 400 students from13 high schools, including some as far as Arizona. 

Model UN is an increasingly popular activity for high school and college students. Various competitions are held all over the country almost everyday, including several conferences in southern California. At the conferences, students represent delegations from various nation-states and non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International in the same setting that occurs in the real United Nations. 

The delegates are usually split into United Nations committees that simulate the General Assembly, the Security Council, or the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), just to name a few. All of the delegates then participate in debate, caucusing, and mock resolution writing as part of the criteria for which their performance is based. They are then given awards based on their performances in all of these areas.

The Model United Nations (MUN) at UCR has been in existence for nearly 40 years. In the past, MUN conferences at UCR have hosted over 2,000 students, and were among the top conferences in the nation. This year’s conference was the largest the organization hosted in recent years. 

This conference is exclusively held for high school students of all skill levels. This year, the conference featured eight committees including: the General Assembly Plenary, General Assembly First, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, World Health Organization, Arab League, United Nations Children’s Fund, and the International Court of Justice. 

One of the main attractions for this conference was the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, which featured a mock ICJ proceeding and the testimony of Argentinean dissident and well-known author Alicia Kozameh. The students were allowed to question Kozameh, and listen to her testimony regarding Argentina’s “Dirty War” of the 1970s and 80s. 

Next year, MUN plans to host another high school conference that is “bigger and better,” than this one, according to one club member. The estimates for attendance at next year’s conference said to be nearly 750 high school students, doubling the total from 2004. The conference is tentatively scheduled for the first weekend in February.

Model UN participates in additional activities besides the High School Conference. The students in this non-profit organization attend conferences throughout the country, honing their diplomatic and speaking skills. This year MUN is sending teams to the National MUN conference in New York, and the Far West MUN conference in San Francisco. The requirements for attending one of these conferences are merely enrollment in the Model UN simulation class, offered by the Department of Political Science as POSC 142M during winter quarter, and membership in the club.

If you would like more information on UCRMUN or any of its programs, please visit the UCRMUN Website or stop by the UCRMUN offices on the second floor of Watkins Hall. For info on the requirements and availability of POSC 142 and other International Relations classes in the Political Science Department, please consult the course catalog.

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