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Students tackle international problems at model UN conference


A group of 14 students from the history and political science department at Illinois College tackled some of the world’s toughest issues during a model United Nations conference last month in St. Louis.

Professor Winston Wells took the group to the 54th annual Midwest Model United Nations conference, where they represented two countries: the Republic of Haiti and the Republic of Colombia.

“Each student played the role of a diplomatic representative from one of these two countries, and they spent four very long days working to find solutions to a wide range of global problems including climate change, the status of women, international trade, nuclear proliferation and global public health,” Wells said.

The conference was attended by students from 44 universities and colleges – mostly from the Midwest – who represented 87 member states of the United Nations.

Senior Samir Adrissi served as the head delegate for Haiti and thought the whole experience was a great opportunity to learn about the UN and how it operates.

“My favorite part about the conference was being able to take on the role of a country which I didn't know too much about and mingle with like-minded people about important issues of our future,” Adrissi said.

Wells said that both Illinois College delegations performed very well. Students representing Haiti included seniors Adrissi and Benjamin Ansong; junior Napoleon Karnley; and sophomores Espoire Habimana, Oyinda Oshiafi, Eli Wright and Nisreen Zaqout. Students representing Colombia included senior Joana Torres; sophomores Guus Duindam and Jovanny Nava; and first-year students Juanita Andoh, Daisy Orhin, Chimege Tsendnyam and Theresa Umoren.

One of the conference’s highest honors was given to an Illinois College Student. Duindam received the Shower Scholarship which is given to the best essay submitted by a participant. The subject this year was how the UN Security Council might be reformed in the years to come.
In his paper Duindam argued in favor of reforming the UN Security to better reflect the world’s balance of power.

“I argued that yes, the UN Security Council should be reformed because the current setup – a ‘victors union’ of World War II winners – can, given today’s balance of power, no longer be justified by any defensible rationale,” Duindam said. “Instead, using a balance between a Rawlsian, idealist position and a hardline realist one, I argued for a UN Security Council consisting of the U.S., China, India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Brazil, France and the U.K.”

The four-day conference was a chance for students to interact with other students from other institutions and have a dialog about the problems facing the international community.

“What the students gained from this conference was a better appreciation for the complexity of solving international problems,” Wells said.

About the Midwest Model United Nations

MMUN is an all-collegiate organization dedicated to the concept of a “Venture in Practical Education.” It is designed to furnish a structure and forum for students to work with the most pressing international issues from a perspective outside of the classroom and thus broaden their awareness of the world of politics. Representing the role of another nation’s delegation to the United Nations, students further realize the difficulties and complexities of international relations. Our conference has three goals: to promote interest and understanding of the nations of the world; to help students gain a broader perspective of global issues and the role of the United Nations in world politics; and to encourage investigation into the field of international studies.

The Midwest Model United Nations has been in existence since 1960. It is governed by MMUN, Inc. an educational, nonprofit corporation operating under the laws of the state of Missouri. MMUN, Inc. has an official relationship with the United Nations as a non-governmental organization.
About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visit or call 217-245-3467 for more information.

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