High school and junior high students from around Utah gathered on Saturday, Jan. 24, to participate in the 19th annual BYU Model United Nations Conference, wholly organized by BYU’s MUN team.
Utah students spent the day in committee sessions, where they represented various countries from around the world as delegations to the United Nations and its various organs. The delegates had opportunities to give speeches, write resolutions and form alliances in order to pass the resolutions they considered most appropriate to the problems their committees were assigned to deal with.
Marie Kulbeth, director of the Human Rights Council, noted that the delegates on her committee improved throughout the day. “At the beginning, a few students were outspoken and dominated the group, but as they continued to work together and become more invested in the outcome, all of the delegates participated more fully,” she said.
Overall awards were given for the schools whose delegations performed well across the committees. The Outstanding Awards went to Lakeridge Junior High, West High School and Woods Cross High School, and faculty awards were given to Jenny Nichols of West High and David Hansen of Springville Junior High. The conference also awarded five Distinguished Delegation awards and ten Honorable Mentions.
BYU students who organized this conference consider it an excellent opportunity to increase global awareness and practical skills in Utah’s youth as well as to hone their own skills for the April National MUN Conference in New York.
“A necessary part of every learning process is to teach what you have learned to others,” said Carl Brinton, director for the Crisis Committee. “BYUMUN is the perfect opportunity for BYU students to reach out to the community and teach the next generation of MUN delegates.”
The conference began with a keynote address by Aaron Sherinian, managing director for public affairs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Brooke Gregg, the faculty advisor for Woods Cross High School, appreciated Sherinian’s comments on poverty., “It was the best keynote I have heard at BYUMUN. Mr. Sherinian involved the students in his message and helped them understand the timeliness of the issues they had come to discuss.”
Later in the day, three guest speakers focused on topics tailored to specific committees. Frank McIntyre spoke to students on the issues of development and technology; Matthew Stearmer from the WomanStats Project presented issues of gender equality; and James Parkinson addressed human rights as discussed in his book Soldier Slaves.
“The BYUMUN Conference went very smoothly," said Drew Ludlow, conference director. "Our students as well as the delegates worked hard and were rewarded by participating in one of the best MUN conferences BYU has hosted.”
For more information on Model United Nations, please see the web site at kennedy.byu.edu/student/modelun/munmain.php.
Writer: Lee Simons