“I still remember the first day I walked into the United Nations and it still gives me goose bumps” are the words Brock UN President Kailene Jackson used to express how she said the UN’s headquarters made her feel, during the first UN model meeting of the year, this past Thursday on September 13, 2018 in South Block 215.
Brock New York Model UN “is an opportunity for students to participate in experiential learning while simulating the United Nations and creating innovative solutions to world problems,” Jackson said. “It teaches students of all experience levels and academic backgrounds these skills while simulating various UN committees in weekly meetings on-campus as well as representing Brock at different conferences at other universities.
Students later on get the opportunity to travel to a conference in the actual UN building in New York City, “which hosts over 6,000 students from around the world as well as offers delegates the opportunity to visit the United Nations headquarters,” Jackson said.
The president clarified that the club is learning-oriented, “although we do hope to win again at this conference this year, that is not the primary goal.”
Niveditha Sethumadhavan, a business communication student, explains what this experience entails.
“Basically, we mock different committees at the real United Nations,” Sethumadhavan said. “So, when we go to New York there could be a human rights committee that debates those same issues.” She said, “…and you have to come up with solutions that could potentially be something that could be implemented in the future.
There are various goals, however, the idea is to get hands-on experience, “with international diplomacy and subsequently preparing and empowering them to create solutions to global problems,” President Jackson explained.
Haydn Kenny, a political science student, clarified that you are given a specific country to research.
“So, last year we were chosen to represent Spain,” Kenny said. “So, everything that we did, no matter what the issue was, [from] international security to women’s issues, you’re doing it from the perspective of that country and how their delegate would actually do it.”
Students commence to expand their knowledge. “Rather than just knowing, I know Canadian politics, I may know American politics, but now you actually have to expand your knowledge,” Kenny said. “It forces you to kind of go deeper in those issues.”
Yuware Usuanlele, a political science student, said “I also want to add that it’s also incredible to think that we’re going to New York and we’re running the simulation which [isn’t] real but at the time, it’s very much a copy of what the actual UN does.”
Usuanlele continued, “It’s very eye-opening, it lets you really have a better understanding of how the world works on the international level.”
Usuanlele recalled that international relations, has always been a passion of hers since the eighth grade.
“So, actually putting that into practice, I think has really shown me that there is so many avenues for us to make real change,” Usuanlele said. It’s very inspiring as well to learn about the different opportunities and what real people are doing to address these situations.”
“It connects you with light-minded individuals that care about these things,” Kenny said. “That’s just special.” He continued, “Everyone can come together in a safe environment, learn and discover more things about the world.”
On the other hand, Sethumadhavan explains that opportunities can pop up as well:
“I was a delegate who represented Brock’s team and all its members. They supported me so much that I will now be attending the conference as an assistant director. Again, that would not have been possible in any way if it wasn’t for this club.
Sethumadhavan continued, “I get to chair a real United Nations simulation at the real UN in New York.”
For Jackson, the outcome was also impressive.
“Last year, Brock Model UN was awarded the “Distinguished Delegation” award at the New York Model UN conference, placing in the top 10 per cent of delegations as well as winning a Best Delegation award in a committee,” she stated.
She repeated, there were 6,000 students attending who came from 200 international schools.
“So, winning these awards was a big deal for us,” Jackson said.
Most students joined the club to gain insight of what’s really happening around the world but they weren’t expecting to gain life-long friends as well.