Model UN earns distinction in Des Moines event

By: Zuhayr Alam

Last week, a group of 11 students traveled down to the state capitol building in Des Moines to participate in the Fall Symposium for a statewide meeting of all Model United Nations participants.

Model United Nations, Model UN for short, is an organization that gives students the opportunity to explore their political skills and investigate various issues at an international level. The club is broken up into fall and spring sessions. In the fall, delegations from around 40 high schools meet in the Capitol building in Des Moines at a symposium. Symposiums are broken into four main committees: politics, economics, social issues and science. Each committee, headed by one or two members from each delegation, will have to take a stance on a divisive and relevant topic and work with other delegations to reach a compromise and form a resolution in their respective committee. This process is watched over and moderated by Secretariats, who are UNI students. They carefully monitor and control the discussions that take place.

The goal of the symposium is to pass as many resolutions as possible. In addition to passing resolutions, the goal of the individual is to get Outstanding Delegate. Outstanding Delegates are awards given to two members of each committee in recognition of exemplary negotiation skills.

For Cedar Falls, seniors Nathan Tesfa, Katarina Walther and junior Jenna Clark headed the political committee. Junior Olivia Habinck headed the social committee, junior Tyler Campbell headed the economic committee and senior Jason Cheng headed the scientific committee.

The two-day long event, which began on Tuesday, Oct. 20, started with four pre-plannary committees. These committees develop backgrounds for each issue, establish consensus positions and provide justifications for the viewpoints expressed. This process took about seven hours to complete.

The following day was the main event. All 200 delegates met in the capitol building and didn’t leave until they were able to reach a resolution with all other delegates in their committees. The discussion to reach a resolution lasted about six hours.

Junior Olivia Habinck enjoyed the experience.

“It was really fun, informing and educational,” Habinck said. “It’s really cool because it took place in the Iowa State Capitol, and I met a lot of people from all over the state.”

At the end of the day, CFHS delegates were able to pass all of their resolutions. In addition, Cheng won Outstanding Delegate for his work in the science committee.

Cheng was pleased with how the symposium went.

“I was excited to receive the award again. This is my third time receiving it,” Cheng said. “I thought the symposium went well also. I wrote about half of the paper, but we went in a direction I liked, and we had some fun with it.”

The CFHS delegation, comprised of 22 members, met Tuesdays during Power Hour in the ALPHA Room. The delegation will begin meeting again in the spring. All are welcome to join.

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