After earning second place at the National Collegiate Security Conference at Georgetown University on Oct. 28, the Cornell Model United Nations is enjoying its recent success and looking forward to several future endeavors that members hope will establish them as one of the leading campus organizations in the country.
Finishing behind Florida State at the conference, the organization sent over 30 of its members to compete with delegates from around 25 other colleges. Eleven of the Cornell delegates were individually recognized for their performance. The competition is one of the largest held in the United States, and it was the second year in a row that Cornell earned the distinction of second place.
With membership ranging between 70 and 100 students, the Model UN is one of the largest organizations at Cornell. According to group member Ben Solomon ’03, for whom the University’s Model UN was one of the key factors that made him decide to come to Cornell, the competitions are an “intense experience.”
“You really have to have a deep understanding about what’s going on, about the issues,” Solomon said. “Model UN is an excellent club and I think that more academic teams should get more recognition here at Cornell, just like athletic teams.”
Around four weeks before they attend a conference, delegates are assigned a country; they then research and write statements about that country, including topics related to international issues and policies.
The competitions, which usually take place over four days, are simulations of the actual United Nations, with delegates debating topics including issues about economics, security, and crisis management.
The members acknowledged that the organization was a significant time commitment, and a large majority of the members were involved in Model UN groups in high school.
“We expect people who go to do well,” said Treasurer Kevin Mills ’02. However, according to Solomon, “You really get out a lot more than you put in.”
With the Georgetown conference being its first of the year, the Model UN has already made several improvements.
“Over the last couple of years, the group has really taken off,” said Mills, referring to the recent successes of the group, and its ability to attract more interested students every year.
While planning to attend four competitions this year, the Model UN is also hoping to host its own conference for high school students next fall. The conference would be the first time Cornell would attempt such endeavor.
“Most well-established organizations hold their own conference,” said Mills, explaining the motivation behind the planning.
The Model UN Secretary General Matt Grosack ’03 is in charge of planning the conference.
“We hope to have around 500 delegates,” Grosack said. “It is possible that we would follow the European style for the conference, as opposed to the Harvard style.”
European style is when all of the delegates gather in one room at the end of the conference to debate instead of staying in their committees the whole time, Grosack noted.
If implemented, the conference plan would be unique compared to other domestic university-sponsored Model UN conferences. The group hopes to enlist volunteers from both the Law School and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations to help out with the proposed conference.
In the future, the organization also hopes to attract more speakers on international affairs and raise awareness about such issues on campus.
Model UN will be sending delegates to three more conferences this year. The team will be traveling to Montreal, Harvard and the University of Virginia.
Speaking about the group’s goals for the upcoming performances, Solomon said, “We would just love to win.”
Archived article by Mackenzie Damon