Washington, DC – This past weekend a group of students from the WAU Honors College participated in the National Model United Nations (NMUNDC) conference just outside Washington, DC. The WAU team represented Belgium and discussed and debated issues in 5 different conference committees. This is the first time that a Seventh-day Adventist university has participated in a national MUN conference. WAU was one of more than 40 colleges and universities participating in the conference.
On Friday morning, just before the start of the conference, the WAU team traveled to the Belgian Embassy in Washington to discuss their committee topics with members of the Belgian diplomatic staff. For more than an hour, students discussed a wide range of policies with Jan De Pauw, the Deputy Chief of Mission, and Marianne Laruelle, the Chief Political Counselor at the embassy. A photo of the WAU group with Mr. De Pauw and Mme Laruelle was sent out on Instagram by the Belgian Embassy later that morning.
The conference included debates on a wide range of topics – from digital privacy to human trafficking to sustainable development to nuclear proliferation – and delegations worked with each other to draft and pass working resolutions that addressed each issue. Completed resolutions were then voted on by the full committee body and those that were passed went into effect.
“This is what Nation’s Capital learning is all about,” said Dr. Jonathan Scriven, the Director of WAU’s Model United Nations program. “We see Washington as the ‘Gateway to the World’ and the NMUNDC event provides our students with the opportunity to engage with hundreds of other students from around the country to try to solve real, global problems. And these opportunities are right here in our back yard.”
Model United Nations is an experiential learning activity based on the activities of the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council. Students take on the role of diplomats from countries all over the world as they discuss and debate significant global events and crises. During a typical conference, participants work collaboratively to propose and adopt formal resolutions that attempt to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. MUN is one step in a broader WAU Honors College plan to increase international opportunities for students at WAU.