While Guelph’s Model United Nations club is only four years old, it is holding its own against other university clubs when it comes to competitions. This year, with about 30 schools participating – the largest number in the competition’s 29-year history – three U of G students won awards at the North American Model United Nations held in Toronto.
The competition requires students to research, debate and create resolutions for either current issues or historical ones.
Vanessa Craig, who has been involved since the U of G club was founded, was named “outstanding delegate” for her contributions to a mock committee discussion where she took on the role of a Japanese admiral during the Second World War. She says these “joint crisis” events are fast-paced as the delegates attempt to counteract the directives and policies passed by the other side.
Stephanie Bishop was awarded the “best paper” prize for her research paper “Illicit Substances Trafficking in the Americas.” This simulated committee focused on the endemic and pervasive problems associated with drug trafficking, including the associated issues of poverty, violence and youth involvement. Bishop was assigned to represent Bolivia.
Martina De Ruyte was named “best delegate” for representing British Columbia premier Christie Clarke in a mock committee called “Canada at 150: Summit in Toronto.” The discussion covered Canadian issues such as economic competitiveness, protecting energy reserves and reviewing commitments to aboriginal affairs.
The competitors – known as delegates – work with their committees to come up with innovative solutions based on historical precedents as well as new ideas, says Craig, who is majoring in international development and history.
She adds that these events teach students to work with others, think about the point of view of others, and use research to inform their ideas and discussion. “There are practical applications for many different degrees and career paths,” she says. “This has been a major part of my university experience.”
Guelph’s Model United Nations club will accept applications for new members again in the fall 2014 semester.