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Model UN: Class or Club?

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Gilmour students participate in Model United Nation event at Indiana University.

Model United Nation is an extracurricular that allows students to roleplay delegates and to simulate UN committees. It is being offered as a class next year instructed by Dr. James Gutowski, Director of Academic Services and Instructor in Social Studies.

Model United Nation, as both a club and a class, can prepare students for competitive conferences throughout the nation. Daniel Kirchner (`17), leader of the MUN Club, describes Model UN as a chance to discuss effective policies with other delegates. Kirchner said, “You have to state the opinions of the nations that you are representing regardless of whether you believe in them or not.”

It is extremely important to find the balance between competition and collaboration in Model UN.

“Instead of stressing individual success,” Gutowski said, “In Model UN, a big part of the performance is measured by how well you build consensus with other representatives.”

Gutowski thinks that Model UN allows students to think from different perspectives because they need to justify opinions that they don’t personally agree with. “These practices build a certain flexibility of mind,” he said.

Students like Kirchner are really excited about the class next year. Having Model UN as a class could allow more students who are interested in public speaking or policy become involved in the program. However, challenges remain as many experienced students are graduating next year. Kirchner remains optimistic. He said, “I hope that students can take up the leadership and continue to pass down experiences as a tradition.”

In the class, Gutowski will focus on relevant skills and they will participate in many simulations in order to prepare for conferences. Students will be required to attend at least one conference locally.

Dr. Jeff Vaughan, Instructor in Social Studies, said, “Model UN challenges students to turn meaningful understanding into creative performances and discussions. That is very compelling and unique.” Students are able to learn about international conflicts and the background of the countries that they represent. Moreover, they will gain the ability to negotiate and assert opinions.

If enrollment warrants a class, Model UN will be counted for half of a social studies credit. Charlie Wu (`17), a current member active in Model UN, comments that MUN is a fun way to study and hopes that other students can join the program next year.

 

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As an Asian student who joined the school's Black Alliance Club, Charlie Xie ('20) engages himself in a cultural discourse that goes beyond cultural boundaries. Being a keen observer of both Eastern and Western culture, Charlie investigates people's behavior in different societies, and whether that behavior results from specific circumstances of that society, or is it the manifestation of a larger trend unbeknownst to him. Charlie is interested in culture, history, anthropology, philosophies and other subjects of humanities. He, however, doesn't view them as branches of studies. He regards them as ways of life or knowledge that is required for a qualification of the global citizenship. He is also very interested in math and science.

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